So you think you drink enough fluid huh? You think your hydrated? Think again. The majority of people are dehydrated and chronically so according to most doctors. Its not enough that we have to bath with it and wash with it but now we have to drink it continuously too? I know, I know, its a drag. Well don't worry. Ill lay it out easy for you and then you will understand the importance of remaining hydrated. You want to live right? Good because water happens to be essential for that part of health.
Staying hydrated is as important to an athlete as it is a couch potato. No matter who you are you need water, your body is saturated with it. So how much do you need? The average water consumption needed to stave off thirst is approximately 8-12 12oz glasses a day. I recommend shooting for one ounce per 2lbs of body weight. That means for a 160lb individual you should attempt to consume approximately 80 ounces of quality water a day.
This may seem tough but only if you are not accustomed to drinking water. Drinking soft drinks, coffee, milk, etc do not provide the body with the hydration it needs and most of them are acidic to the body and have more negative than positive health effects. Switch it up slowly, try switching out your OJ in the morning for a glass of water or mixing it half and half. Im not against organic juices or raw dairy products because these do have significant health benefits. Im simply for water as your sole source of liquid for the day because that is really all the body needs as a drink, the rest can be achieved through supplementation and/or diet.
Why do you care? For starters if you are thirsty then you are already dehydrated. The body needs water for basic function so feeding it what it needs is essential. The brain utilizes 80-90% of the water drank immediately upon consumption, it requires it for proper function. The blood is approximately 92% water, bones make are 10-15% water and all the other organs have varying percentages of water but the point is that you can not get by without it and you are doing your body a great disservice when not drinking enough of it.
Initial dehydration of 1-2% will cause dry mouth, dry skin, fatigue, loss of appetite to name a few. A loss of 5% will cause increased heart rate, increased respiration, extreme fatigue, muscle cramping, nausea, headaches and tingling of the limbs. A loss of 10% and you need help IMMEDIATELY. Symptoms will include confusion, muscle cramping, seizures, chest and abdominal pain, difficulty breathing, difficulty seeing, vomiting and a racing pulse. Its not simply the loss of water but electrolytes along with it the four main electrolytes being calcium, potassium, magnesium and sodium.
Don't be a dummy. Make sure you have plenty of fluid not only during exercise but leading up to your work outs. If you forget to drink at any point during the day don't attempt to drink 40 ounces in 5 minutes, your body can drown from too much fluid being drunk at one time. If you are barely drinking water attempt to build up slowly by adding a glass a day. Remember only you can prevent dehydration or forest fires or both.