Coach’s Corner: Water, the Source of Life!
I didn’t think to discuss water at first because it seems so obvious. It’s common knowledge that we need to drink eight glasses of water a day. Knowledge is one thing, of course, and practice is entirely different. There are some people who really, really don’t like water, so drinking enough is a burdensome task. I know there are ways around it—carbonated water or flavor additives—and while I don’t encourage ingesting unnecessary sugar, calories, and chemicals (easy for me to say because I love water, but sugar and chemicals will contribute to dehydration, which is counterproductive!), if it is that challenging, I’d rather you start by any means necessary and gradually wean yourself away from “enhanced” water than not keep properly hydrated at all.
We come in an assortment of shapes and sizes though, so the 8-glass, one-size-fits-all model doesn’t work in this case, and activity level also affects how much water you need. But, here’s the simplest way to approximate how much water you should consume daily: divide your body weight in half and that’s the number of ounces you should strive to drink each day. For example, if you weigh 150 pounds, you need 75 ounces of water.
That may or may not seem like a lot to you. If it seems like a lot, you might be thinking, “but I don’t feel thirsty.” By the time your thirst kicks in, the rest of your body is well-dehydrated and it’s desperate at that point. You might also feel like you function just fine with only two glasses of water a day. And that might be true because there are other sources of hydration that sneak into your system through liquid-heavy foods or other beverages, but it’s hardly enough when you consider that the average adult metabolizes 2.5 to 3 liters of water a day (to use the above example for a point of reference—75 ounces of water is 2.22 liters), so your body will draw from other sources from within to meet its needs.
Here are some interesting facts:
- Your body is made up of about 60% water that it processes day to day, and it needs to be replenished.
- Water acts as a solvent for all the chemical reactions in your body. All of them. That’s a lot of chemical reactions, man.
- Water transports the goods through your body in the form of blood: oxygen and nutrients to your tissues (including for repairs) and waste products out.
- Water assists digestion by forming saliva and carrying food through your GI tract from entry to exit.
- Water regulates body temperature. As temperature rises in the surrounding environment or internally from strenuous physical activity, water is released as sweat, which evaporates from the skin and keeps the body cool. This is why you need to drink more water when engaged in intense exercise or if it’s hot out.
- Water keeps your joints lubed. You don’t know what you’ve got until that synovial fluid is gone.
- If matters of physical appearance are of utmost importance to you, consider: the body is likely to retain water if it isn’t getting enough from outside sources (it’s amazing at adapting for survival). Also, consider your skin—what’s the difference between a grape and a raisin?
- As I mentioned earlier, the average adult metabolizes 2.5-3 liters of water a day and that water needs to be replaced somehow. This doesn’t take into account some other factors such as age, activity or metabolic needs, medications, or illness that also affect how much water a body requires.
- And speaking of activity, muscles will cramp as a result of dehydration. Not so fun during a set of speed roundhouse kicks…
You don’t have to suddenly start drinking a ton of water if it hasn’t been a regular habit. Build up to it—otherwise, you’ll be visiting the bathroom every twenty minutes and that’s annoying. Purchase a reusable water bottle (for the environment!) to make this easy to accomplish. I carry around a 24-oz. and after two refills I’ve met my needs. Try to sip and not gulp; you’re a beautiful flower that prefers to be gently watered and not drowned—as well as a beautiful flower that prefers to keep those pee breaks to a minimum.
Bottomline: drink enough water so your body can do its job well, day in and day out.