The Three Watered Down Lies We Believe About Hydration
It’s all around us. We love to waste it, swim in it, wash our bodies and even our vehicles with it.
And it’s a surprising portion of our body. The human body is mostly water: about 55% to 75%, on average (and depending on how well hydrated you are). That’s about 10 to 12 gallons of water in your body!
The average human brain is composed of about 73% water. Our body mass is about 60% water.
You lose about 10 or more cups of water every day just living: breathing, sweating, urinating, etc.
Yet SO many people rarely drink it. I mean really drink it. Most say they do but truth be told, the reality is a completely different story.
Let’s Look at Three Watered Down Lies We Believe About Hydration:
1. Most People Believe They Consume Enough Water Within Their Day
They assume drinking any liquid is satisfying their thirst when it actuality “the beverage of choice” is doing the exact opposite.
Alcoholic beverages have the most dehydrating effect. IF drinking, aim for one glass of water per alcoholic drink especially with wine. You’ll see a dramatic difference.
Your body has water in every cell, tissue, and organ. It helps move nutrients, get rid of waste, keep your temperature at the right level, lubricate and cushion joints, keep your skin moisturized, and lots of other things.
So, what’s the point? Our bodies need and crave water to work properly. It’s the one area you can almost overdue it.
2. Most People Believe They Have Little to No Effect of Even Mild Hydration
Yet the research could not disagree more with this belief. According to a blog article by Jon Beaty, mild dehydration occurs when we lose only 1.5% of our body’s optimal water volume.
When the water volume gets low, our brain functioning suffers. Research demonstrates that even mild dehydration can negatively affect our mood and our ability to think clearly.
Thirst is one of the first warning signals that you may be getting dehydrated. But don’t rely on thirst alone. Other early signs are fatigue, flushed skin, faster breathing and pulse rate, and having trouble exercising.
You can’t rely on your sense of thirst to tell you if you’ve had enough water, Dr. Drewnowski warns. Citing research from Johns Hopkins University, he says the sensation of being thirsty fades as adults age—regardless of water intake—which might be one reason older adults don’t drink enough.
Here are just a few of the many side effects:
- Dry Skin
- Decreased Urine Output
- Dry Mucous Membranes in the Mouth and Nose
- Decreased Coordination
But wait, there’s more. Then you could add more serious consequences: blood pressure changes, allergies, asthma, and back pain. Just giving you something to look forward to if you choose a parched life.
3. Most People Believe They’re Just Set in Their Ways and it’s Too Difficult to Change Now
Have you ever noticed how open people are to change on the things they want to change?
But if it’s something they’ve made up their mind and not willing to even explore changing, little to nothing will change their mind.
The reality is we need far more water on a daily basis then we think and even consume so we should be willing to explore how to consume more water in a creative way.
I was personally resistant for the longest time. But when I chose to lose 30 pounds, I went on a research kick about losing weight.
The shocking reality was how almost every blasted author wrote about the importance of hydration.
At this point, I SLOWLY changed my ways with the following ideas…
Here Are Five Minor Adjustments for Major Results
1. Drink a glass of water when you get up in the morning, before you have coffee or tea.
I put a water bottle by my bed and try to finish it or at least half before I do anything else. Your body is dehydrated from many hours without water. Inhale it before you bathe in it.
2. Keep a cup or water bottle by your desk at work.
Take several sips of water each hour. If you don’t have a desk job, carry a container of water with you, and take sips throughout the day.
3. Take a sip whenever you pass a drinking fountain.
Most of us work at a location that has a water fountain or water cooler. Or, like me, in an airport. Take a hit every time you pass. If you try this easy action item, you could potentially add another glass of water to your day
4. Eat foods with high water content.
The foods you eat supply about 20 percent of the water you need. The rest comes from the beverages you drink.
Watermelon, celery, cucumbers, and lettuce are good, healthy choices. The average person gets about 20% of their water for the day from food. An apple is 84% water. Bananas are 74% water. Broccoli is 91% water.
5. Add natural flavor to your water (such as lemon / lime / Cucumber / strawberries)
Tip: Flavor your water ahead of time. If you truly dislike the taste or texture of water, pop a few slices of orange, lemon or lime into your water bottles the night before.
Fresh berries are equally delicious. Since I travel a ton for work, I pick up creative ideas from hotels. Any nice hotel will have chilled water with fruit in the water by the front desk. As a result, we do that at home all of the time.
After a night of chilling in the refrigerator, you’ll have a tasty, satisfying, virtually calorie-free beverage to keep you hydrated. Just don’t forget to grab your bottles before heading out the door.
I switch it up. I may have water with fruit in the morning then water with lemon or lime in the afternoon. You know, livin’ on the wild side.
Here’s the often asked question:
How much water should I drink on a daily basis?
How much fluid you need depends on a number of variables:
- Age: Kids need plenty of fluids; they can get dehydrated much more easily than adults. Older people may need more fluids because of health conditions or because they tend to lose their sense of thirst.
- Gender: Men need more fluids than women. (And pregnant women need more fluids than other women.)
- Weight: Heavier people need more water.
- Health: Conditions such as diabetes, cystic fibrosis, and kidney disease can boost your need for fluids.
- Environment: You need more fluids in extreme weather conditions (especially hot, humid, or cold) and at high altitudes.
The Institute of Medicine, which advises the United States government on health and health care, recommends women drink approximately 2.7 liters—just under 6 cups—daily. They recommend men drink 3.7 liters—just under 8 cups—daily.
According to WebMD, the easiest way to know if you’re drinking enough fluid is to look at the color of your urine. If you’re drinking enough water, your urine will be clear or pale yellow. A darker yellow means you aren’t drinking enough water.
People who drink enough water also usually have soft bowel movements. Hard bowel movements or constipation can be signs that you aren’t getting enough water.
Here’s a great tool to measure your hydration. Check out:
Hydration Calculator – http://nutrition.about.com/library/blwatercalculator.htm
Eventually, you will just know. I can tell in my body when I’m needing water. Crazy, I know.
If I’m on the road, I MUST carry water and NOT rely on others around me who’s only water intake was when water accidentally splashed in their mouth during their morning shower.
Here are a few suggestions on HOW MUCH water you should consume in a day
- Aim to meet at least the minimum recommendation amount for water each day. Women require 9 cups or 72 ounces daily, while men need 13 cups or 104 ounces, MayoClinic.com reports.
- One method of determining your need for water is by taking your weight in pounds and dividing that number in half. This gives you approximately the number of ounces you should drink each day. – Shereen Lehman, MS, Nutrition Expert
- On average, you should take a rehydration break about every 20 minutes. Most people would stay adequately hydrated by drinking 5 to 10 ounces of fluid every 20 minutes. But your exact need depends on things like how hard you’re working, whether you are indoors or outdoors, and your age, gender, and weight.
- Be prepared to go to the bathroom more often. It’s a worthwhile adjustment because of cleaning out your body and so many more benefits.
Water could help with weight loss. Studies show that by drinking water, people tended to eat and drink fewer calories, probably because the water filled them up. As a result, they lost weight.
In the End…
Here are some additional details:
It is possible to drink too much water. Healthy kidneys in an adult can process anywhere from 20 to 1,000 milliliters of fluid per hour. It’s not easy to overload them, but it can happen.
Getting too much water, especially in a short time, is dangerous. Symptoms of too much water include weight gain, bloating, nausea, and vomiting. Sudden cases of water intoxication can cause low blood sodium, which can result in headaches, confusion, seizures, and coma.
The International Marathon Medical Directors Association recommends that athletes drink no more than 31 ounces of water per hour during extended exercise.
- You need to accept the reality of how much water you actually drink within a given day
- Make a decision to drink more water
- Get creative how do add more water within your daily routine
How can you add more water to your daily routine?
Additional Reading, Resources, and References:
Hydration Quiz from WebMD: