Water (H2O) and Proper Hydration; What’s the Big Fuss?

Did you know that the average human body consists of 60-70% water?  Size, age and gender all may influence ones water needs, but how much the average person consumes daily is mind-boggling.  Reports show that the daily intake for most Americans is less than 40 ounces of water (roughly 5 glasses), but I believe that number is inaccurate.  Most of our clients consume 1-2, 8oz glasses of water a day and in many cases, not even a single glass.  Most of American water intake comes from soda, coffee and many beverages other than actual H20.  Every single client that comes through our doors, we have the “water talk” because it is essential and easy to follow. Let Show Up Fitness educate you on how wonderful water is!

Facts:  Proper hydration will increase energy levels. It’s pivotal for temperature regulation and it composes nearly 70% of our muscular system. Hydration is critical for many physiological functions necessary to support human life.  We may not realize it, but we lose a lot of water daily via urination, defecation, perspiration (especially if we are exercising) and exhalation.  Many Americans seem to be chronically dehydrated and may experience headaches, lower energy levels, weakness and muscle cramps because they don’t drink enough water.

How much should I consume?  Some say drink half your body weight in water and others say 8 glasses a day. But which one is correct?  There are many different methods, but the best one is to monitor your urine output – The darker the color, the more dehydrated you are (see figure 1.)    Ideally, you would like to see the color of lemonade. However, if you notice an apple juice tint, drink some water immediately because you are dehydrated.  Note:  extreme neon on yellow is usually a sign of excreted nutrients, so if you are taking a multi-vitamin or some sort of over the counter pill, these all may influence your color.  It is always best to consult with your doctor especially if you see any hint of red (could be dead blood cells, blood or even muscle fibers).  We recommend that the average individual begin by drinking more water.  Yes, it’s that simple.  Ideally, we would love for everyone to be consuming 8-10, 8ounce glass of water daily. However, for many people, that may be difficult. To begin a lifestyle modification, we encourage baby steps.  Write out how many ounces you are currently consuming and if you are below, start by adding 1-2 glasses a day.  For some smaller people, they may complain of being bloated.  But remember that you have been depriving your body of its most essential nutrient for quite some time. Be cognizant of the fact that it takes 21 days to start a new routine. So start now!

Helpful pointers:  Carry around a water bottle to help track your progress.  Try adding in strawberries, lemons, limes, cucumber or any assorted fruit and vegetable melody to your liking.  Place a glass of water by your bed stand and every morning when you wake up, train yourself to chug the whole glass – remember those college days, just replace the beer with water!  We consume roughly 20% of our water intake from food; so eat more fruits and vegetables, e.g.  apples (86% water), cantaloupe (90%), pickles (92%), squash (94%), carrots (88%), broccoli (89%) and watermelon (92%).  Also, try to drink 1 glass of water before and after the exercise session because if you are dehydrated, studies show that the intensity of your workout can be compromised.

Try to avoid:  Waiting until you’re thirsty because the moment we register dehydration, we have already lost 2% of our total body weight (for a 200lb person that is 4 pounds of water.)  Be careful of sports drinks and other sweetened drinks due to the unwanted calories (usually sugars) that will add to your waistline.

Just remember to try and drink water more consistently throughout the day and don’t wait until you are thirsty. Monitor your levels by a urine chart and watch out for those extra calories through sports drinks.