Water-Why You Need to Drink Up!

December 08, 2011

"I'm dying of thirst!" How many times have you either said that phrase or heard it said? There is some truth to that saying. The question is; are you getting enough water, especially when you're working out. Many men are dehydrated and don't even know it. Here's a how to guide on how much water to drink and why. Think about it. Water, next to air is the most essential element to our survival. Water makes up more than two thirds of the weight of the human body. Without it, we would die in just a few days. Water is crucial to virtually every basic function of the body, from temperature regulation to blood circulation; from regulation of our immune system to waste elimination; to overall metabolic function. What kind of symptoms will you notice from drinking too little water? The most common are constipation, dry and itchy skin, acne, nose bleeds, repeated urinary tract infections, dry and unproductive coughs, constant sneezing, sinus pressure and headaches. Mild dehydration is one of the most common causes of daytime fatigue. An estimated 75 percent of Americans have mild, chronic dehydration. It's shocking! Our body can not work without it! Just like a car needs gas, our bodies need water. Just a mere 2 percent drop in our body's water supply can trigger signs of dehydration. The problem is; we tend to ignore just how important drinking water is! Exercising men take note - 75 percent of muscle tissue is actually water. Dehydrate a muscle by three percent you lose 10 percent of contractional strength and eight percent of speed. Dehydration also increases blood volume, and thicker, more concentrated blood stresses the heart. Your arteries then become less able to provide muscles with oxygen and nutrients, and less able to eliminate accumulated wastes. You don't need to be a rocket scientist to figure out dehydration is among the most common causes of poor athletic performance. On the more cerebral side, dehydration can produce a miniscule but crucial shrinkage of the brain. Deprive yourself of proper daily water intake and your concentration and coordination will be noticeably affected. If you are overweight or have fluid retention problems, you should be drinking more water. Keeping your body adequately supplied with water will actually help speed up your metabolism. When your body is not provided with enough water, it instinctively sees this as a threat to survival and, like a camel, begins to hang on to every drop. Water also suppresses the appetite, and naturally aids the body in metabolizing stored fat. So it stands to reason that overweight people, with a larger metabolic load, need more water than thin people. Whether you are overweight, thin or perfectly developed, every body needs quite a bit of water everyday. The average person loses about two cups a day through perspiration (the body's temperature control), even without any physical exertion. Another two cups a day disappears just by breathing! The kidney's and intestines use up another 6 cups a day. Add that up and it's a total of 10 cups of water a day you lose just by being alive-without adding any sort of physical exertion. We get some of that water loss back in the food we eat, but you need more A LOT more. The average person should be drinking at least 6 to 8 cups of water a day. To be even more specific about your intake needs, divide your bodyweight by two. This gives you the number of ounces of water you should be drinking daily. Then divide the number of ounces by 8. This gives you the number of cups of water you need to drink daily. This does not include drinks such as juice, soda or coffee. People often tell me, "no problem. I drink tons of water with my meals." This is exactly the wrong way consume your daily quota of water. It dilutes your food and makes for far less efficient absorption of nutrients. Avoid water beginning at least 15 minutes before every meal; and after a meal you should give your stomach 30 to 60 minutes to begin the digestive process before you drink more water. Drinking water can also help prevent disease. Drinking eight cups of water a day can decrease your risk of colon cancer by 45 percent. It reduces the risk of bladder cancer by 50 percent and can also potentially reduce the risk of breast cancer. So why not drink up! Thirst by the water is a lousy barometer of whether or not you need water. By the time someone gets thirsty it's too late. You may already be on the road to dehydration. It's best to establish a daily regime for drinking water. Make it a habit. Carry a water bottle with you. Reach for a bottle of water instead of that soda or coffee. A good trick to ensure you drink the proper amount of water a day is to measure out your daily allotment of water and put it in a pitcher or jug either on your counter, your desk at work or in the refrigerator. When that container is empty at the end of the day, you know you are drinking the proper amount of water. You'll notice a difference in your workout and the way your feel, so you can seize the moment of each and every day.

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