Water is so underrated. We literally depend on it for our survival, being that 50-70% of our body weight is made up of it and every single one of our cells, tissues and organs require it to function optimally.
The undeniable improvements that implementing an adequate hydration routine have one one’s physical and psychological state is likely due to the fact that water–
- Rids the body of waste through urination, sweat and bowel movements
- Regulates body temperature
- Aids in joint lubrication and cushioning
- Protects sensitive tissues and spinal cord
- Helps optimize brain functioning
As discussed in one of my previous posts, it is vital to listen to your body on many accounts – especially regarding its fluid-intake needs. This will vary depending on one’s daily activity levels and environmental factors such as temperature and humidity.
The US National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine determined that men require about 15.5 cups (3.7 litres) of daily water intake while women require about 11.5 cups (2.7 litres). To meet this water consumption recommendation, about 20% of one’s intake should come from food, while the remainder would be directly from fluids.
Even being in a state of mild dehydration (meaning a loss of 1-2% body water content) leads to an impairment in cognitive performance decreasing one’s productivity, alongside feelings of lethargy and anxiety. In women (according to this publication), certain aspects of mood such as alertness, fatigue and calmness were negatively affected during states of dehydration.
Additionally, your skin, kidneys, lungs and digestive system all output water throughout the day, hence the importance of being conscious of your water drinking habits in order to avoid falling into a state of even mild dehydration (make note of your urine colour to understand your hydration levels).
At a 1% loss of your body’s water weight, you’ll start to feel the sensation of thirst and impairments in thermoregulation. As you lose more water, you begin to experience a dry mouth and vague discomfort including loss of appetite by the time you’ve lost 3% of your body’s water content. At a 4% loss, productivity levels are seen to drop by an astonishing 20-30%, with the individual also experiencing difficulty concentrating, alongside headaches and sleepiness occurring by a 5% loss in their body water content. Should the individual continue forward without proper re-hydration, they will feel sensations of tingling and numbness by 6% dehydration and may even collapse at 7% loss of total body water content.
There are considerable differences in the amount of water that an individual loses throughout their daily activities, however the consensus among the science-based research community seems to be in support of customizing one’s fluid intake to (at LEAST) equal their daily bodily fluid loss.
To conclude, in order to stay hydrated myself, I quite literally have a water bottle at arms reach throughout majority of my day and drink close to 3litres daily. I initially began this habit a couple years back when I was dealing with some hormonal breakouts, and continued forward with it once I realized the improvements that increasing my water intake had on the texture of my skin, energy levels, and even with regulating my bowel movements! It is a simple habit that everyone should implement as a form of self-care, if nothing else.
How much water do you need to stay healthy? (2020, October 14). Retrieved April 01, 2021, from https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/art-20044256
Jéquier, E., & Constant, F. (2010, February). Water as an essential nutrient: The physiological basis of hydration. Retrieved April 2021, from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19724292/
Nutrients in Drinking Water. (2005). Retrieved from https://aloyoun.com.sa/documentation/nutrientsindw.pdf#page=34.
Riebl, S. K., & Davy, B. M. (2013). The Hydration Equation: Update on Water Balance and Cognitive Performance [Abstract]. ACSMs Health Fit, 21-28. doi:10.1249/FIT.0b013e3182a9570f
Sawka, M. M., Burke, L. M., Eichner, E. R., Maughan, R. J., Montain, S. J., & Stachenfeld, N. S. (2007). American College of Sports Medicine. Encyclopedia of Sports Medicine. doi:10.1249/mss.0b013e31802ca597