Water is the element that we need most for our survival. Nearly 70% of our bodies are made up of water and is also the medium through which nutrients and oxygen is transported to each cell. Our body balances water within our bodies with electrolytes present and together they determine how the body functions. Nerves and muscles are both impacted by the amount of water in our systems
Let’s consider what will happen to our bodies when there is a lack of water. This state is called a dehydrated state and often the end result will be the shutting down of all systems in the body and if not arrested will end in death. Fluids in the body maintain blood pressure, body temperature, heart rate and metabolism in addition to being mainly responsible for transporting nutrients and waste.
Consequences of dehydration
Dehydration affects each person in different degrees. In some severe cases it can cause extreme anxiety, confusion, changes in behavior, sleepiness, loss of consciousness, rapid breathing and overall weakness of the body. Although we do not give much thought to dehydration it is automatically addressed through the mechanism of thirst in our bodies. Many people still continue to take only the minimum amount of water and quite often are below the minimum requirement and thus falling into a category that will be highly susceptible to dehydration. This is especially true of people involved in sports. Even the slightest change can cause a person in the arena of sports to have serious performance issues.
How much water per day?
This is a perennial question that gets the answer as 8 glasses. Yes, for a normal adult this is quite a good level of hydration. However, it is best to drink around 11-16 cups of water per day as this will ensure hydration at a higher level. This can include not only other beverages but also the water content in your solid food. Hydration needs differ from one person to another depending on their age and circumstances. The following categories of people need a higher level of hydration than the average adult:
1. People suffering from ailments such as bladder infections, urine problems, kidney stones, skin conditions, fever, diarrhea, vomiting etc.
2. Women who are breastfeeding or pregnant
3. People who are traveling or living in hot climates
4. People who are exercising or truing to loose weight.