Water: How much should you drink every day?
I recently received this WebMD article that questions the benefits of drinking 8 glasses of water per day (thanks Erik). I was a bit floored by the MD that was blog-bashing the core quintessential element that makes up us and the surrounding world. In fact, just as the guest that forwarded me the article, I decided to gulp down a bottle of the magical transparent molecule just in spite. So, my research began, and if you are reading this blog and control distribution of CEUs for the ACSM I would appreciate a few.
Science has proven that nearly all the major systems in the human body rely on water. In truth, water makes up over 60% of our total body weight and functions in many different capacities.
What the original article omits is the notion that dehydration is the real concern since 75% of Americans are chronically dehydrated and that dehydration is the leading cause of death in children worldwide. Each and every day you are losing water through your breath, perspiration, urine and bowel movements and in order for your body to function properly you must replenish its water supply. “Replenish” is the key word. The average adult loses about 1.5 liters/day through urine and an additional liter through breath, sweat and bowel movements. So, if you consume about 2 liters or 64 ounces per day, rarely feel thirsty and produce colorless or slightly yellow urine, your fluid intake is probably adequate. However, there are a couple applicable factors that may influence your water needs such as exercise, environment and illness.
- An extra 8-16 ounces of water should suffice for short bouts of exercise, but intense exercise lasting more than an hour would require more fluid intake. A good rule of thumb for exercise is that you should weigh the same after the activity as you did before.
- Heat and humidity will also trigger an increase in sweat product and require greater intake of fluids. Furthermore, if you are at altitudes about 8,200 feet your urination and breathing pattern may change, thus you should drink additional water.
- Certain illness such as fever, vomiting and diarrhea cause your body to lose additional fluids. In these cases drink more water and it may be beneficial to consume an oral rehydration like CeraLyte.
I hope this helped. We all know our bodies well, what physical response do you regard as the first sign of dehydration?