The most important thing that our bodies need is of course, WATER. Water makes up a whole 70% of our bodies! That is a huge amount and is a good example of why we need water to survive, and function properly. The average human should drink 64 oz. (8 cups) of water per day. That number is for the average sedentary adult though. Once physical activity and body composition is applied to the mix, that number increases. Any physical activity will increase the need for water, because you sweat, and burn calories, so the water needs to be replenished to normal levels again.
How Much Water Should I Drink?
The amount of water always depends on your goals, and your activity level. Bodybuilders, for example, need to drink 1-2 gallons a day because of the amount of muscle tissue that is on the body, which needs to be hydrated to perform. The more muscle tissue you have, the more water is needed to keep the muscles hydrated and functioning properly. Athletes who run, or do any kind of endurance training, also need to consume a good amount of water to replenish water stores that are diminished by sweat and calorie burning.
We’re constantly losing water from our bodies, primarily via urine and sweat. There are many different opinions on how much water we should be drinking every day.
There Are Differing Opinions
The health authorities commonly recommend eight 8-ounce glasses, which equals about 2 liters, or half a gallon. This is called the 8×8 rule and is very easy to remember. However, there are other health gurus who think we’re always on the brink of dehydration and that we need to sip on water constantly throughout the day… even when we’re not thirsty. As with most things, this depends on the individual and there are many factors (both internal and external) that ultimately affect our need for water.
Many people claim that if we don’t stay hydrated throughout the day, our energy levels and brain function can start to suffer. There are actually plenty of studies to support this. In one study in women, a fluid loss of 1.36% after exercise did impair both mood and concentration, while increasing the frequency of headaches. There are other studies showing that mild dehydration (1-3% of body weight) caused by exercise or heat can negatively affect many other aspects of brain function. However, keep in mind that just 1% of body weight is actually a fairly significant amount. This happens primarily when you’re sweating a lot, such as during exercise or high heat. Mild dehydration can also negatively affect physical performance, leading to reduced endurance.
Water’s Effects on Body Weight
There are many claims about water intake having an effect on body weight… that more water can increase metabolism and reduce appetite. According to two studies, drinking 500 ml (17 oz) of water can temporarily boost metabolism by 24-30%. The researchers estimate that drinking 2 liters (68 ounces) in one day can increase energy expenditure by about 96 calories per day. It may be best to drink cold water for this purpose, because then the body will need to expend energy (calories) to heat the water to body temperature. Drinking water about a half hour before meals can also reduce the amount of calories people end up consuming, especially in older individuals. One study showed that dieters who drank 500 ml of water before meals lost 44% more weight over a period of 12 weeks, compared to those who didn’t. Overall, it seems that drinking adequate water (especially before meals) may have a significant weight loss benefit, especially when combined with a healthy diet.
Benefits of Drinking Water
There are also some health problems that drinking more water would have very positive impact on which are:
Constipation: Increasing water intake can help with constipation, which is a very common problem.
Cancer: There are some studies showing that those who drink more water have a lower risk of bladder and colorectal cancer, although other studies find no effect.
Kidney stones: Increased water intake appears to decrease the risk of kidney stones.
Acne and skin hydration: There are a lot of anecdotal reports on the internet about water helping to hydrate the skin and reducing acne, but I didn’t find any studies to confirm or refute this.
So by reading this, you now know the huge amount of benefits from increasing your water intake can have, and the negative impacts in can have if you do not consume enough water. Water is the number one nutrient our bodies need to function properly. The human body can only live for 3 days without water, so DRINK UP!