It might seem obvious that staying properly hydrated is good for your physical and mental well being, but it's not always easy to stay properly hydrated and sometimes the symptoms of dehydration can sneak up on you especially if life's treadmill is moving fast. Consuming sufficient amounts of water plays a vital role in maintaining ones health from day to day, and our bodies suffer the consequences when we don't take in enough liquids.
Water is a key component of life and the human body is made up of approximately 60% water. The body of an average sized man might contain 42 to 48 litres of water, and the average woman maybe 38 to 45 litres. A good portion of this water can be found in the blood stream where among other things oxygen and nutrients are transported to cells, hormones are released, and waste products are removed through the kidneys, liver and intestines. Water also plays a key role in controlling the body's metabolism, temperature, blood pressure and heart rate.
With sufficient hydration these processes can function properly. When there is insufficient hydration, even with very small changes in the amounts of water available, the body operates at sub optimal levels. The blood tends to become more concentrated and thicker. As the body works to adjust to lower water levels at the cellular level, one can experience a wide array of symptoms ranging from thirst, fatigue, poor concentration, poor mood, forgetfulness, poor memory, confusion/ light headedness, indigestion, headaches, heat exhaustion, heat stroke and even death. By staying aware of your own personal need for water during the day and especially when your body is under greater amounts of stress ( including emotional and physical ) you can maintain the happy balance that keeps you moving forward in a productive way.
The amount of water that a person needs to drink during the day depends upon many factors including weight, activity level, diet, climate (e.g. hot climate vs cold) and personal attire. Someone who consumes a diet already high in liquid content, may not have to drink as many glasses of water during the day to reap the full benefits of proper hydration. Others may need to supplement their diets with additional liquids to stay properly hydrated. There are many foods such as salads, tomatoes, smoothies, soups, melons and other fruits, ice cream, etc. that are high in water content. The point is to make sure on a daily basis that your water intake from food sources combined with liquids such as coffee, tea, and juice, smoothies and glasses of water, is going to be sufficient to keep you feeling well. Your body gives you useful feedback that you can use to determine whether you are drinking enough.
People who are drinking enough go pee at least five or six times a day, toxins are flushed through the system and the colour of urine tends to be clear or light coloured. If your urine is highly concentrated or coloured you may not be taking enough liquids, and may benefit from increased hydration. Your thirst also provides useful feedback reminding you to replenish the water level, even though by the time you are thirsty you are already experiencing low levels of dehydration. Finally it is not uncommon when exercising to lose weight from water loss. Tracking your weight before and after exercising can help gauge how much water needs replacing.
Staying physically and mentally fit requires a conscious effort every day. Make sure not to forget to top off your water levels !.
As with any health related issue make sure to check with your doctor for suitability as it relates to your own personal situation.
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