Water: How Much Do You Need To Stay Healthy?
Water allows the body to run smoothly and efficiently. A body that is dehydrated is like a car running on empty. Despite this, many people don't drink enough water during the day. They wonder why they feel tired and run down. It could be that they are dehydrated.
How much water do we need to drink each day? A good rule is to drink 8-12 glasses per day. If you are an athlete and sweat a lot, you may need to drink more due to fluid loss. Sedentary people lose more than 2% of their body's water volume per day, so you can imagine how much an athlete loses during intense training.
Thirst is not always a good indicator of the need for water. By the time you're thirsty, you're already dehydrated. Try drinking a glass or two of water every morning. This rehydrates your body after a long period of sleep and wakes your body up.
How much water is too much water? Many endurance athletes experience a condition called hyponatremia, which occurs when large amounts of water are consumed, causing salt levels in the blood to fall to dangerous levels. If electrolytes are not replaced, the condition can be life threatening. Athletes should make sure to balance high intake of water with appropriate salt intake or decrease the amount of water consumed.
Like all things in life, too much of a good thing can be bad. It's up to you to determine your water intake needs based on your lifestyle and activity level. In hot weather, make sure to balance high water intake with enough sodium to maintain electrolyte balance.
If you don't like water, the problem may be the kind you're drinking. If your tap water tastes bad, try bottled water or install a filtration system on your tap. If your bottled water tastes strange, try another brand.
Our bodies can't function without water. Perhaps the old saying "you are what you eat" should be "you are what you drink." Treat your body well and it will return the favor in kind.
About the Author: Rachel Williamson is a contributing writer for Eat This!, a collaborative blog dedicated to food and nutrition, where she has written about the benefits of drinking water.