We’ll do just about anything for our bodies. We take hours out of our day to work them out, we buy them fancy spandex so they look good doing it, we get them massages, we feed them organic, but many of us forget about the most important thing: water. Yes, we’re talking to you, self-proclaimed health nuts, fitness fanatics, yogis, trainers and gurus. The people who need it most often don’t realize they’re going dry. Maybe it’s because it’s so simple we think it can’t make that much of a difference – but it does. That’s the crazy thing about water: it’s low-cost, available almost everywhere, and can totally change your life – for better or worse.
Here are but a few of the many, many mighty roles of water:
- Improves oxygen delivery to cells
- Transports the nutrients you eat to the parts that need them
- Helps you breathe easier
- Cushions your bones and joints
- Absorbs shocks to joints and organs
- Regulates your body temperature
- Removes wastes
- Flushes toxins
- Maintains normal electrical properties of cells (electrolytes anyone?)
- Facilitates your body’s natural healing process
In a nutshell: every cell, tissue and organ in your body needs water to function correctly.
But I drink a lot of water…
You don’t need to be Lawrence of Arabia stranded in the desert with your tongue hanging out to be dehydrated.
We’re losing water constantly, all day long, when we go to the bathroom, when we sweat, in fact, we loose about 16 ounces by breathing alone and we haven’t even made it to the gym yet! If you’re not constantly replenishing water, even the best of us can easily become dehydrated.
Some of the early signs of dehydration include:
When things get really serious you might start to experience:
- Joint Pain
- Back Pain
How can you tell if your anxiety is from dehydration or the fact that you just accidentally hit ‘Reply all’ instead of ‘Reply’? Check your pee. If it’s anything darker than pale yellow you need some more H20. And according to Dr. Fereydoon Batmanghelidj, if you’re thirsty you’re already dehydrated. So don’t wait until you’ve got a full-blown migraine and dry mouth. As we say: always be hydrating.
How much should I drink?
A good rule of thumb is to drink half your body weight in ounces of water, but generally not more than 100 ounces. You’ll probably need more if you’re:
- Pregnant or breastfeeding
- Outside in hot weather
- Have a fever or have been sick throwing up and/or with diarrhea
Going all day without drinking a drop and then chugging down 50 ounces doesn’t count. Your body won’t be able to absorb that much water at one time, so all this will do is put a strain on your kidneys and have you running to the bathroom. It’s best to pace yourself and spread your ounces out over the course of your day, stopping about an hour before bed.
One last tip
Batmanghelidj recommends adding a pinch of sea salt to your water to help keep the right balance of water inside and outside of your cells. That’s right, he said it, we support it: for better hydration add salt!
If you’re suffering with conditions like asthma, allergies or the others listed above and you’re interested in learning more about their connection to dehydration, of we highly recommend Dr. Batmanghelidj’s book: Your Body’s Many Cries For Water.