The topic for today "water."
To start things off, I'd like give everyone a quick quiz. True or false, you should drink fluids whenever you start to get thirsty. If you answered true, you are wrong. The correct answer is false. You should actually drink fluids before you get thirsty. By the time you feel thirsty, you have already started to become dehydrated.
Next to air, water is the most necessary thing for our survival. Everything that occurs in our body occurs in water. You can go without food for months, but without water you will only survive a few days. Water is key to almost all functions of the body. It is vital to digestion and metabolism, it is necessary for chemical reactions to occur, it helps to regulate our body temperature, and it helps to lubricate the joints. We even need water to breathe. Did you know that we lose approximately one pint of liquid each day by just exhaling?
So, if you don't drink enough water you can impair almost every aspect of your body's ability to function. And the more you exercise, the more water you need to keep your body's fluid balance.
Dr. Howard Flaks specializes in dealing with obesity. Dr. Flaks states that "as a result of not drinking enough water, many people encounter such problems as excess body fat, poor muscle tone and size, decreased digestive efficiency and organ function, increased toxicity in the body, joint and muscle soreness, and water retention."
Yes, you read right. If you are not drinking enough water, your body will start to retain water to compensate for the shortage. So, as backwards as it may seem, the way to eliminate fluid retention is to drink more water, not less. Not only that but if you are trying to lose weight and do not drink enough water, your body cannot metabolize your fat.
How much water should we drink? Well that depends entirely on who you ask. The International Sports Medicine Institute promotes a formula they have used with Olympic and professional athletes around the world. The formula however applies to both athletes and nonathletes alike. They suggest a daily water intake of one ounce per pound of body weight if you're a nonactive person and 2/3 ounce per pound if you are active. Your water intake should be spread throughout the day, but try to avoid more than four glasses in any given hour.
According to other sources, two hours before exercise you should drink at least 16 ounces. One hour before drink at least 8 ounces. And during exercise you should drink at least 4 to 8 ounces every 15 to 20 minutes. And again after exercise drink another 16 ounces.
With hydration being so important, you should also know some of the warning signs of dehydration. Signs of dehydration include: dizziness or lightheadedness, muscle cramps, nausea, headache, dark urine, sudden fatigue, and a dry mouth and/or throat.
You should also note that young children and the elderly dehydrate easily. So take extra precautions to keep your kids drinking water, especially during the cold months when they are less likely to "feel" thirsty.
I have always felt that the best source of water is just that, plain old drinking water, but we also get water from the foods we eat. Liquids like fruit juice, milk, and thin soup will also help to get those needed ounces. Keep in mind that drinks with alcohol and caffeine do not count. Alcohol and caffeine actually increase water loss from the body.
I hope you all have a great week, and please remember to keep drinking that water.