Saturday, March 7, 2015

Drink Up For A Longer Life

Without water we would die and our body is made up of water more than anything else.  Sometimes I feel like a broken record telling my clients to drink more water.  I can’t stress the importance of drinking more water.  It is such a simple concept that has huge benefits! 

I am going to name just some of the benefits of drinking more water.  Some of them are well known but I will also talk about some of the benefits that you probably didn’t know about.

Some benefits of drinking water that are well known to most people are:

  • Keeps skin looking healthy
  •  Improves energy
  •  Improve bowl function
  • Improve kidney function
  • Control appetite
  • Prevent headaches
  • Helps with fat loss
  • Helps with weight loss
  • Improve metabolism

Some less known benefits:
  •  Energize and build muscles - when muscle cells don’t have enough fluids they can become fatigued. If you are well hydrated it will take longer for them to become fatigued and you can work harder to build muscle.
  • Balance body fluids - your body is composed of 60% water.  The functions of these bodily fluids include digestion, absorption, circulation, creation of saliva, transportation of nutrients, and maintenance of body temperature. Consuming sufficient quantity of water is believed to prevent cardiovascular problems. Water keeps the body hydrated and prevents the arteries, both in heart and brain, from getting clogged. Therefore, it is believed to prevent heart attack and stroke.
  • Helps improve joint function -one of the lesser known benefits of drinking water is that it helps keep your joints strong, healthy and lubricated. Your joints need moisture in order to remain strong and flexible, so that your movements are smooth and pain free.
  •  Improves brain function - Drinking plenty of water also supports nerve function. It ensures that your body's electrolyte levels remain high enough to allow your nerves to relay messages to and from the brain in the way they were meant to.
  • Prevent diseases such as cardiovascular and cancer. Yes, that’s right – various research says staying hydrated can reduce risk of colon cancer by 45%, bladder cancer by 50%, and possibly reduce breast cancer risk as well. Water is essential for the proper circulation of nutrients in the body. Water serves at the body’s transportation system and when we are dehydrated things just can’t get around as well. Our digestive system needs water to function properly. Waste is flushed out in the form of urine and sweat. If we don't drink water, we don't flush out waste and it collects in our body causing a lot of problems. When combined with fiber, water can help with constipation.
  • Decrease pain – If you have chronic pain then drinking more water may help alleviate some of your discomfort.  Water is essential for transporting various substances within the human body. Cells exchange elements through a process called electrolyses. In the absence of water, this process cannot happen and the cells will become dry and die.

So how much water should you drink? There are many recommendations out there and not one exact answer  is for everyone.  If you exercise a lot and sweat a lot when you exercise then you many need more than the average.  Here is one recommendation I found:

The Institute of Medicine determined that an adequate intake (AI) for men is roughly about 13 cups (3 liters) of total beverages a day. The AI for women is about 9 cups (2.2 liters) of total beverages a day.  Another recommendation is to take your body weight and divide it in half and drink that amount in ounces each day.  I personally drink much more than either of those recommendations.  On average I drink about 1.5-2 gallons a day depending on how much I exercise and sweat.  That is about 190 ounces and according to the second recommendation I only need 70 ounces.  Both recommendations don’t factor in exercise so it is important to factor that into your total intake.  Its also important to factor in how much you sweat and you can look online how to perform a sweat rate test. If you don’t like water then try these tips to help you to drink more water:

·      Set a daily goal and keep track of your progress
·      Add lemon or lime to your water or try making a cucumber and mint-flavored water. 
·      Try incorporating some sparkling water.  I personally like sparkling water so if I allow myself and little bit of this each day in helps with my total volume. I don’t rely on sparkling water alone but adding a bottle or two each day helps with me total volume. 
·      If you are at a desk all day set a timer that will remind you to drink.

Drink up and feel better!

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