Monday, November 28, 2016

How Much Water Should I Drink?

Considered one of the biggest concerns of the next century, access to fresh water will play a crucial role in not only how we see the world around us, but in how foreign and local politics take shape.  Already, the severe drought in California, (which has not been seen for more then 1200 years) speaks to our changing climate and how important water really is in everyday life.

Generally speaking, Americans drink far less then the recommended amount of water per day. With so many beneficial affects, drinking more water can dramatically improve how you feel, your energy level, and your overall health.  However, the question soon becomes, how much water should I drink daily?  Lets take a moment to answer this question by looking at the recommended amounts for the population, and then breaking that up based on independent factors.  But first, why should we care about drinking water?

Why Bother Drinking Water?

Simply put, we need water to survive.  In adults, roughly 60% of our bodies are composed of water.  In addition to that, the most important organs in our body (brain and heart) are 73% water.  As a final thing to consider, our lungs, which are responsible for our breathing, are nearly 83% water.  So, we need water to survive.

In addition to being the major ingredient in what makes people work, water can also provide a range of benefits when we drink the right amount.  For example, did you know that drinking the right amount of water promotes healthier skin?  Along with helping to make your breath smell better, water can aid in the regulation of your body temperature and blood pressure, helping you feel less lethargic and fatigued over the course of the day.    There is also the benefit in that drinking the right amount of water can help to flush out toxins from your system, causing you to lose weight, have less severe headaches, and less intense hangovers.  No matter how you look at it, reaching your daily recommended water needs gives your body the boost it needs.

General Recommended Guidelines For Adults

So, how much water should you drink?  Generally speaking, it is recommended that you drink at least two liters of water per day for adults.  In particular, women should at least drink two liters of water per day, and men should drink around 13 cups, or 3 liters of water per day.  Along with making you feel more full over the course of the day, drinking the recommended amount of water provides a 0 calorie way to stay healthy and hydrated.

Things To Consider When measuring Your Water Consumption Rates

Using the above as a base, there are many factors that can influence how much water you need to consume in order to stay healthy and hydrated.  Lets take a look at them now.

1.  Your Level Of Activity

How active are you during the day?  How much of that time is spent outside where you are exposed to the sun or may otherwise sweat?  For all the exercise you do, you will have to drink water to make up for the loss of water through sweat, through your body working, and through loss through your skin.  It is recommended that you drink an extra two cups of water when doing short exercise, and significantly more if you find yourself being far more active during the day.  As the level of activity increases, you will also have to consider consuming electrolytes as well to ensure that you do not go into hypernatremia.  Simply put, it will help to replace the sodium in your body and keep you energized as you exercise.  As a final consideration, you should keep drinking water after you exercise, as this will help to replenish your body when it is in a deficit.

2.  The Environment

Depending on the environment you are in, you may need to drink more water as well, even if you do little to no exercise.  Hot and humid weather in particular can make many people sweat, requiring more water as a result.  Also, the warm dry heat associated with indoor heating during winter can also dry out the skin, requiring more water to make up for the escaping moisture from your body.  Direct exposure to the sun can also increase the rate that you lose moisture, resulting in a greater need to drink and a greater overall thirst.  A final thing to consider is your altitude.  If you happen to live in the mountains or more then 8,000 feet high, then you are naturally going to breath more due to there being less oxygen.  This environment can trigger an increased need to pee, leaving you to with diminished fluid reserves and the need to drink more.

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