Water really is the elixir of life. Did you know the human body can survive up to 3 weeks without food yet it would perish after only 3 days without water? It’s not really that surprising when you consider that our bodies are made primarily of water. In fact an adult human consists of between 50-65% water. This might sound strange because we know that we aren’t 65% blood (we are approximately 7% blood!), however all the different cells in our bodies, including bone, organ and muscle cells are also partly comprised of water.
The more muscle you have the higher this water content is, which is partly why men often have a higher body water content than woman, this is because muscle cells contain more water than fat cells. In fact the difference is about 75% for muscle cells to only 10% for fat cells. If that isn’t enough your brain is made up of 95% water!
Your body is constantly using water for many different purposes, such as in the process of energy transformation, as a medium to which nutrients and waste are transported through your body, and forming part of the structure of all the body’s cells. Water is being released from your body each day, whether it be in the form of urine, sweat or saliva. Even right now small particles of water are being carried out with your exhalation.
When you exercise you perspire and exhale more precisely, which means you are excreting more liquid, plus you are also burning through energy and stressing your muscle cells which means your body will need more fuel and materials to build and repair them.
This is why staying hydrated is so important. Because without water your body will stop functioning! Hydration is vital to maintaining your body’s normal functions such as kidney and digestive functions, cell regeneration, maintaining a healthy blood flow and ensuring healthy potassium, sodium and electrolyte balance.
Dehydration can be very dangerous, even lethal, so it is important to stay hydrated.
The average adult needs to be drinking approximately 8 glasses of water a day. However there are several factors to consider that would require you to drink even more than this to support your body, including:
- Moderate to extreme exercise
- Hot weather conditions that cause you to perspire
- Illnesses that have cause vomiting or diarrhoea
- Breastfeeding woman
- People who have specific conditions of the kidney or bladder
Signs of dehydration can include:
- Dry mouth
- Dark urine
- Not much urine
Staying hydrated is easy enough; just make sure that you carry a bottle of water with you. I find this helps because this way I can keep track of exactly how much water I have been drinking. Drink more in warm weather or when you are exercising and if you are dehydrated because of vomiting, diarrhoea, or extreme perspiration then make sure you get some electrolytes into you as well.