While most people are under the assumption that they are getting enough water in their bodies each day, the reality is that many people are walking around partially dehydrated and don’t realize it. Relying on thirst alone does not give you the best indication, as this means you’ve already fallen below an optimal intake and are in the earliest stages of dehydration. Planning and just “getting in the routine” of drinking more water are two of the easiest strategies you can take, and may be some of the best at protecting your health on a very basic, but necessary, level.
The human body is about 60% water and almost every major organ system of the body is dependent on it for proper functioning. If you’re experiencing any of the following symptoms, think about inadequate water intake as a possible culprit or contributor:
Running hot or cold frequently – It may not be just fluctuations with hormones like estrogen or thyroid hormone. Water helps regulate your body temperature by producing sweat to cool the body down and to keep the blood circulating through the body to help transfer or dissipate heat.
Muscle cramps – beyond nerve irritation and mineral or electrolyte imbalances, dehydration of our muscles can cause cramping or spasms. Since our muscles are approximately 75% water, it is critical that we keep them properly hydrated.
Brain fog or poor concentration – your cognitive functions and ability to concentrate are diminished right along with your water intake. This could also impact things like reaction time or job performance. Keep your water intake high, right along with your omega-3 essential fatty acids.
Joint aches and pains – if your diet is low in sugars and other pro-inflammatory foods like vegetable oils and trans fats, give your water intake a boost. All of our joints need proper lubrication to keep motion fluid and the cartilage healthy.
Headaches – too much alcohol or caffeine can both lead to headaches as they act like natural diuretics in the body and cause you to lose more water (thus the headache “the next morning”). If you do partake, or deal with frequent headaches not related to nerve irritation in the neck, try upping your water intake.
And remember, we also need plenty of water to help our bodies with detoxification and to assist the kidneys in flushing out toxins and waste products. But how much water do we need? The old rule of thumb that everyone needs eight 8-oz glasses per day is a general guideline, but doesn’t take into account size differences and activity level. A better method is to divide your body weight in half and take that number as the number of ounces of water you should be taking in each day. If you are very active outdoors or in the gym and sweating, then increase your consumption accordingly.
Since we exhale water and carbon dioxide all night long while we are sleeping, a good thing to do to start the day is to get a big glass of water into your system first thing in the morning. That way, you are already on track with helping meet your body’s daily needs and you’ve got a head start on decreasing your risk for any of the above-mentioned symptoms. Water is a foundational key to helping us maintain an optimal level of health, so don’t let this easy health maintenance habit fall by the wayside. Drink up!