Water. It covers about 75% of the Earth’s surface. It makes up ~73% of our brains. And it comprises ~65% of the human body. Most of your blood and all the cells in your body are made up of water. Water seems to be everywhere around us and within us… But – go a few days without it and you’ll probably die. The human body cannot survive without water. And by that, I mean fresh, clean, pure water.
So why? What does water do? Why is it so important?
Water transports oxygen and nutrients into your cells. It regulates body temperature. It protects our organs, removes harmful toxins and helps our metabolism. Water also acts as a lubricant, which both protects and moisturizes our joints. Not enough water leads to dehydration, tiredness and muscle cramps in the short-term. Longer periods of dehydration can lead to thicker blood (which causes higher blood pressure), higher cholesterol, increased risk of coronary heart disease and obesity.
Humans require water. Life cannot exist without water. Seems simple, huh?
Think about this. A lot of people drink coffee first thing in the morning. What does this do? It further dehydrates an already dehydrated body. Your body naturally loses water throughout the night while you’re sleeping. Top that off with some caffeine and guess what? More dehydration! So what’s a body to do? Drink water as soon as you wake up! This will hydrate you, provide you with energy and enable you to feel more refreshed throughout the day. This practice also fuels your brain and reduces that brain-fogged feeling; it wakes up your metabolism; and it helps flush out toxins and impurities from your body allowing more room for nutrient absorption. You wouldn’t drive your car without first warming it up, would you? Think of your morning water as warming up your body.
And what about that age-old question that everyone wonders about. ‘How much’ water should I be drinking? The truth is – it depends. There is no one answer. It’s not like everyone ‘should’ or ‘must’ drink two liters of water per day. It’s not a one-size fits all scenario. There is a guideline I use with my coaching clients, kind of a general rule of thumb. I tell them to start with half their body-weight in ounces of water and see how that feels. So if you weigh 140 pounds – start with 70 ounces per day. And adjust from there. If you’re waking up multiple times per night to use the bathroom, maybe try a little less. If your throat is dry after all that, you may require a little more.
If you’re an athlete, you will probably need more water, especially on days you work out. Uber-athletes, like a marathon runners, will definitely need more on those long run days. And if it’s a super-hot day in the summer and you’re exercising outside – yup, you’ll need more water… Let’s face it – athletes sweat. Exercise makes you sweat. And if you lose even just 2% of your body’s water content, which could lead to dehydration, believe me – you’ll notice! And get this: exercise can cause a loss of about 6 – 10% water content via sweat. And even a little dehydration can lead to reduced body temperatures, fatigue, and a serious lack of motivation to continue with your work out.
On the other hand, if you eat a LOT of fruits and veggies, you may actually do well with less water as some fruits and vegetables have high water content. For example, strawberries contain about 92 percent water per volume. Peaches are 88 percent water; blueberries – 85%. On the vegetable front, lettuce and cucumber are at the top of the list and consist of 96% water. Other high-water veggies include tomatoes at 94%, cauliflower at 92%, and broccoli at 91%.
I also recommend to my clients that they drink some water before every meal. This does two things. One, it slows them down so they can better judge whether they are full or not – so they may end up eating less overall. It also wakes up the digestive system so taste buds function better and the stomach is moisturized and prepared for the acid that’s coming to digest your food.
Water plays a huge role in our daily lives.
It relieves fatigue, it helps with headaches, digestion and constipation, it improves mood, and it helps flush out toxins. Here are some tips I share with my coaching clients:
- As soon as you wake in the morning – drink water (cold is better as it increases your metabolism!)
- If you have a headache – drink water
- If you feel hungry – drink water
- If you have any kind of cramping – drink water
- Before every meal – drink water (about 20-30 minutes prior)
- Before exercise – drink water
- After exercise – drink water (but not too fast as you may experience stomach cramps)
- Been around sick people? – drink water; this helps flush out germs, etc.
- If you’re sick yourself – drink water (or any fluids, like soup!)
- Feeling tired – drink water!
- About to take a shower or bath – drink water (this helps lower blood pressure)
So, bottom line: Want better skin? Drink more water. Want to lose weight? Drink more water. Tired? Drink some water. Feel hungry? Drink some water and then think again about whether you’re really hungry. Confused? Just. Drink. Water.