The next Basic Lifestyle Guideline (BLG) we’re going to tackle here is HYDRATION. Here’s a little reminder of the stuff we’re working on right now:
So, there in the third point on the list, next to the little picture of a water droplet, it says:
“Water: 1/2 of your bodyweight in ounces per day, as a starting point.”
Let’s unpack that a bit.
- “Water” – That’s the fluid that makes up 60% of your body. You need its hydrogen and oxygen molecules for the 37 thousand billion billion chemical reactions per second that occur in the human body (I didn’t make that number up, I looked it up). We’re not talking about coffee, tea, milk, juice, soda, alcohol, or energy drinks; just water.
- “1/2 of your bodyweight in ounces per day” – Take your bodyweight in pounds (mine is 154 lbs today) and divide it by two (that would be 77 for me). This is the number of ounces of water to drink per day. 77 ounces of water for me is a little over a half gallon, or about 5 pint glasses of water per day.
- “As a starting point” – If you live in a hot place and you’re sweaty, or you do a lot of physical labor or exercise all day and find yourself dehydrated, then you may need to increase your water intake. On the other hand, if you’re running to the bathroom to pee all day and your urine is clear in color each time, you may be drinking too much. The liquid in the foods you eat can also contribute to hydration, so this water number is not an exact drinking requirement for all humans. It’s just a place to start from.
Why hydrate? Lots of reasons, of course. You want all those chemical reactions to take place, first of all. Here are a few more things to think about:
- Water helps regulate body temperature (it’s your coolant and your anti-freeze).
- Water lubricates your joints.
- Water helps prevent infections.
- Water brings oxygen to your cells, allowing them to operate at full capacity.
- Water delivers nutrients to your cells.
- Water helps your organs function optimally.
- Water is used by your kidneys to flush out toxins.
- Water increases your metabolism and helps you stay lean.
- Water provides minerals to the body.
- Water tastes great!
However, there are also some reasons not to drink TOO MUCH water.
- Drinking excess water can lead to Hyponatremia, a flushing of minerals from the body that can cause death.
- People with certain health conditions (heart disease, high blood pressure, edema, kidney problems) can suffer certain complications by drinking too much water.
- Using water to flush down your food while eating can lead to poor digestion, possibly due to the lack of salivary enzyme activity in the mouth during chewing.
So, the point is: water is essential, drink enough water, don’t drink too much water. Get yourself a water habit. Monitor and adjust to find the right levels for you. If you’re worried that you’re not getting enough–or getting too much–and you think you might have some medical issues from that, then please talk to a doctor.
8 thoughts on “Hydration”