The Importance of Water
Did you know that a healthy human can consume up to 48 glasses of water in a single day (1)?! Water is necessary for human life! It makes up around 70% of our body weight and is responsible for many functions in the body. From weight loss to increased energy levels, disease prevention or increased athletic performance water truly is the elixir of life. Hydration levels will ultimately affect the balance of our body fluids, which in turn affects how our organ systems run.
When we do not consume enough water on a daily basis it can affect:
Transportation of nutrition around the body
Maintaining body temperature
How much water do you need to consume on a daily basis? It really depends on your age, body type and your lifestyle. The older we get our sense of thirst lessens and body water content decreases by up to 15% (2). This can put elderly people at higher risk for severe dehydration. Therefore the intake of water becomes much more necessary the older we get. The following are other factors that will affect the amount of water your body needs for optimal hydration:
Amount of caffeine or alcohol drank regularly
Consumption of fast foods or processed foods
The average male should consume around 3 litres per day, and the average female just over 2 litres per day. The more caffeine/alcohol intake, smoking and consumption of fast foods will cause a need for increased water intake as all these habits are dehydrating to the body. Water requirements also increase when exercise is a priority. Hydration levels are directly related to improved performance! Think of water as the lubricant in your car. When levels are off or low the car will not run as smoothly as when levels are high and where they need to be. Athletes must take care in the amount of water consumed daily to support performance based needs.
How to increase your daily water intake:
Consume 1-2 cups warm or room temperature water in the morning as soon as you wake
Purchase a 500ml or 1L water bottle and carry it wherever you go! Having water easily accessible to you will increase the likelihood of drinking throughout the day
Phone alarm/reminders – every 2 hours put a reminder on your phone to drink water.
To keep track of how much water you have consumed in a day place a sticker or rubber band over your water bottle after finishing and refilling. The visual will make it easy to track if you are aiming for 2L per day!
Consume high water content foods! Cucumbers, celery, tomatoes, spinach and fruits are an excellent way to increase hydration without drinking
What you can start achieving today:
Focus on consuming at least 2 liters (8 glasses) of water per day – any increase in water is great progress but you want to focus on consistently consuming an average of 2 litres daily to feel and understand the effects of proper hydration
Cut out all other liquids other than water and herbal teas. Make an effort to cut coffee, black tea, milk, juices, alcohol and sodas and JUST drink water
Add mint, lemon or cucumber to liven up your water! These added flavours also contain hydration and metabolism benefits
Drinking enough water and looking for a boost? For more energy add 1 teaspoon of liquid chlorophyll to 1 cup of water! Chlorophyll has many benefits including increased energy and alertness