Water is the second most popular drink (behind soft drinks), yet most of us ignore familiar the recommendation to drink 8 cups per day. But do you realize the amount needed actually varies from person to person, depending on a variety of factors?
Water, H2O, Aqua, Adam's Ale: It's All Good!
The amount of water you should consume on a daily basis depends on the amount of fluids you lose or excrete. Fluid loss can be attributed to warmer climates, strenuous exercise and even higher altitudes. For example, if you are highly physically active, you sweat more and therefore should be drinking more to compensate for the extra fluid loss. The body is made up of about 60% H2O and the brain nearly 75%, meaning every system in the body depends on it. Here are some of the top reasons to drink more and how to incorporate more fluids in your daily routine:
Drinking Water Helps Maintain the Balance of Body Fluids
Some of the most important functions of bodily fluids include digestion, absorption, circulation, transportation of nutrients and maintenance of body temperature. When the body is low on fluids, the brain triggers the body’s thirst mechanism, indicating you may already be dehydrated.
Water Can Help Control Calories
Simply put, swapping out soda or high calorie energy drinks for H2O can save you hundreds of calories per day. Drinking water before or during meals can help you feel full sooner and prevent you from overeating. In addition, choosing foods that are water-rich such as cucumbers, watermelon, broccoli or tomatoes are not only healthier, but are more filling and help trim calorie intake.
Water Helps Energize Muscles
When muscles don’t have adequate fluids, they fatigue quicker and performance can suffer. Drinking aqua is especially important during exercise, but is also essential prior to exercise as well. The guidelines from the American College of Sports Medicine is to drink about 17 ounces two hours before exercise. In addition, it is important to drink at regular intervals during exercise to compensate for fluids lost by sweating.
Water is Good for Your Skin
Our skin acts as a protective barrier to avoid excess fluid loss, meaning staying hydrated can prevent skin from looking dry and wrinkled.
Water Helps Your Kidneys
Your kidneys are responsible for cleansing and ridding the body of toxins. As long as your fluid intake is adequate, the kidneys can properly do their job to excrete waste products. Also, those who regularly don’t drink enough are at a higher risk for developing kidney stones.
If you are not used to regularly drinking water, try starting with the minimum amount recommended. The general guideline is to drink 13 cups per day for men and 9 cups per day for women. Below are some easy tips to remember to help increase your fluid intake:
- Have a glass of water with every snack and meal
- Eat more fruits and vegetables – 20% of our fluid intake comes from foods
- Always carry a water bottle with you. Keep one in your car, at your desk, or in your bag to always ensure that you have access to water.
We Can Help.
Your physical well being is an important piece of your Wheel of Well Being. If any of your dimensions are lacking, give us a call 24x7x365 for the support you need or to schedule an appointment with a counselor or peer coach.
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About VITAL WorkLife
VITAL WorkLife, Inc.™ is a national behavioral health consulting company providing support to individuals facing life’s challenges, while also assisting organizations in improving workplace productivity. This approach of helping employees and their families, while also guiding organizations, builds healthy, sustainable behaviors. Visit us at VITALWorkLife.com.