Iowa has been enjoying some nice spring temperatures this April. With more people out walking their dogs or going for an afternoon run to enjoy the sunshine, it’s important to remember to stay hydrated. We all know that consuming water is crucial for our health, but it can be difficult to make drinking enough water a daily habit. After all, why drink water when you’re not thirsty? What many people do not know is if you are experiencing any level of thirst, you are already dehydrated.
How Dehydration Affects Health
The body’s thirst sensation does not activate until it is already 1 – 2% dehydrated (UCONN Health Today). This means that by the time we are physically aware we need to drink water, dehydration has already begun to affect the way our body and mind perform. Many people believe most of their daily water intake comes from food. Scientists, however, say food consumption accounts for only 20% of our total water intake (2005). With our increasingly busy lifestyles, keeping bottled water handy while we’re on the go can prevent the following symptoms of dehydration:
● short attention span
● difficulty with short- and long-term memory
● decreased cognitive function
● impaired motor function
Remember that the next time you feel grumpy or are having difficulty focusing on a task, the solution may be as simple as reaching for a glass of water. In addition to our brain functions, dehydration adversely impacts our gastrointestinal and kidney functions along with skin and heart health.
How Much Water to Drink and How Often
The daily water intake recommendation is half of your body weight in ounces. For example, someone who weighs 150 pounds should drink 75 ounces of water each day, or about 9 glasses of water. It’s best to spread out water consumption throughout the day, as drinking water too quickly may dilute your blood, causing water to be excreted faster by your kidneys. Here are some other hydration tips to help you drink the appropriate amount of water each day:
● Sip water slowly, about 2 – 3 ounces at a time.
● Drink about 2 glasses of water a few hours before you exercise.
● Take a few sips of water every 20 minutes while exercising, and replace lost fluids with water when you are finished.
● Flavor your own water with lemon or lime juice.
● Remember to drink water before you feel thirsty.
Water truly is the best liquid to consume for hydration. Caloric beverages contain sugar, which can lead to cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and obesity. Plus, replacing sugary beverages with water has actually been shown to support weight loss (2008).
Who Should Drink More Water
The simple answer to the heading above is: everyone! The fact is that staying hydrated isn’t just for athletes or people who live in extreme climates. Remaining properly hydrated is just as important for adults who work at a desk 8 hours a day as it is for marathon runners. Children and especially the elderly must also be mindful of adequate water consumption.
There are many scientific sources documenting the importance of proper hydration, only a few of which have been cited in this article. It’s important to be aware of the benefits of drinking water and the consequences of dehydration so you can continue to promote a healthy lifestyle for your family and friends. To ensure clean, healthy water is always readily available for your home or office, contact Crystal Clear Water today and ask about our water coolers and bottled water delivery services. Delivery extends to the Des Moines area and other service areas across Iowa.
“Drinking water is associated with weight loss in overweight dieting women independent of diet and exercise,” Obesity (Nov. 2008)