Why Do We Need to Drink Water?
It may not be particularly warm outside, but you know when you need a drink of water – and fast. You're excessively thirsty, perhaps even feeling a bit dizzy or lightheaded. Even if you haven't been exercising vigorously, your muscles may feel weak, your back may hurt and your joints and muscles may feel stiff. You're not imagining things; your body is simply signaling how dependent it is on water.
Water Is Your Body's Fuel
About 60 percent of your body consists of water, which may sound like a lot until you realize how far that water must travel and the functions it must perform – every single day. All of the organs, tissues and cells in your body require water for proper functioning.
The “Big Three” Reasons
On a day-to-day basis, most people are unlikely to complain that their join pain or their 'urinary system' is giving them problems. Water is vital to good health because it: Keeps You Hydrated
Your body needs water to maintain a healthy internal temperature of 98.6 degrees. You're likely to need more water to maintain this temperature, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says, if you:
- Live in a warm climate
- Are very active
- Are sick with a fever
- Suffer from a bout of diarrhea or vomiting
When your body is running low on water and the brain signals that you're thirsty, by all means drink. Failing to do so can lead to dehydration, which in mild forms can lead to temporary disorientation and dizziness and in severe cases – kidney failure.
1. Blood Pressure Regulation
Drinking water can normalise blood pressure. When you don’t drink enough water your body attempts to secure its fluid supply by retaining sodium. An increase in sodium triggers the Kidneys to release renin - this starts the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system to increase blood pressure. Those of you already on blood pressure medication may recognise angiotensin as the A in your ACE inhibitor e.g. Accupril, Lotensin.
2. Keeps You Regular
Water is a simple remedy for people who suffer from constipation, and another look at the body's interrelated parts helps explain why. Every day, the kidneys rely on water to filter between 113 and 142 litres of blood and 1 to 2 litres of urine. But if the kidneys malfunction, excess fluid and waste can accumulate in the body. Water is the key to ensuring that the kidneys function as they should and wastes are flushed from the body.
3. Keeps You Limber
Cartilage in the body – the cushioning agent of joints and discs of the spine – consists of about 80 percent water. So when cartilage becomes dried out, it follows that the joints are less able to shrug off bumps and knocks. Instead, they can feel stiff or bristle with pain. The solution? As the Arthritis Foundation states, “If there’s a magical elixir to drink, it’s water.”
How Much Water?
The average person living in a temperate climate can calculate their daily water requirements by this simple formula; divide your weight in pounds (lbs) by two and this will give you the daily ounce (oz) recommendation. In other words, if you are :
8 stone / 112 lbs ÷ 2 = 56oz / 1 litre 656 mls
9 stone / 126 lbs ÷ 2 = 63oz / 1 litre 863 mls
10 stone / 140 lbs ÷ 2 = 70oz / 2 litres 070 mls
11stone / 154 lbs ÷ 2 = 77oz / 2 litres 277 mls
12 stone / 168 lbs ÷ 2 = 84oz / 2 litres 484 mls
13 stone / 182 lbs ÷ 2 = 91oz / 2 litres 690mls
14 stone / 196 lbs ÷ 2 = 98oz / 2 litres 898 mls
Or you can go by the Institute of Medicine determination that an adequate intake of water for men is roughly 3 liters (about 13 cups) of total beverages a day and for women it is 2.2 liters (about 9 cups) of total beverages a day.
Eat Your Water
If you aren't a fan of water try herbal tea, fruit infused water or eat your water in broths, soups and stews, watery fruits and vegetables including melon and cucumber.
Don't over do it!
REMEMBER: Like all things, too much water is not good and can increase your blood pressure and have similar effects to too little water.