September 3, 2012 | By | Reply

Run through a person’s diet recall and nevertheless enquire about his/her water intake. You will be shocked by these revelations – “3 – 4 glasses in a day”, “I just don’t remember to drink water” or “I drink water only when am thirsty”.

Water is one of the most important nutrients and has multiple benefits:

  • Comprises 75%-55% of the body weight
  • Removes waste products
  • Transports nutrients
  • Hydrates skin and organs
  • Aids in circulation

Despite knowing the significance of water, most us fail to meet our daily requirement on a regular basis. With no proper hydration, our body’s response to indispensable mechanisms like fat metabolism, heart function, energy conversion etc. slows down.

Importance of Good Hydration

1. Temperature Regulation

We lose water through breathing (breath is moist), the skin (this happens even if there is no obvious ‘sweat’) and urine, sweat, and faeces. When sweat evaporates, it disperses heat that is built during a strenuous exercise session or in hot climatic conditions. Since sweat is mostly water, one needs to drink water to replace what is lost through perspiration. Water plays an important role in the distribution of heat and temperature regulation. Adequate hydration improves the ability to maintain a safe body temperature even if one sweats excessively.

2. Hydration and fat loss

Acidic pH
Every cell in our body is constantly being rebuilt. Compare this process to that of building a house. Throughout construction, there are always waste materials left around as by-products of development, which need to be discarded on timely basis.
Similarly as the body rebuilds, the blood cleans away waste material. The cleaning process gets hampered in a dehydrated body further increasing waste build-ups, which in turn gives rise to acid levels in blood. Elevated blood acid levels force the body to store excess acid in adipose tissues, increasing its resistance to metabolize fat. Water plays a major role in helping the body to offset rising acid levels.

Remember a dehydrated body is always a body working overtime. The result of all this is elevated heart rate, kidneys slowing down, and liver taking over to do the kidney’s job. If the liver is working twice as hard, its ability to burn fat diminishes and it lowers the body’s metabolism.

Lowered metabolism = less calorie burn = less fat burn.
Hence a well-hydrated body always augments metabolism, which is a major component for fat loss.

2. Hydration and muscle building

Most people who aspire to gain mass often don’t realize how large of a role does water play when it comes to muscle building. Hydration is a very crucial part of a muscle gain program. Have you wondered why? Muscles are 75% water. Dehydration affects strength, energy levels, and ability to build muscles. Water promotes a muscle-building environment within the body.

Some of the other roles that adequate water intake plays in muscle gain are:

– Maintaining peak strength
Even slightest dehydration (3-4%) decreases strength up to 15%. In order to maximize your workout, stay well hydrated.

– Joint lubrication
Synovial fluid is the only form of lubrication in the joints of our body and is mainly comprised of water. This fluid makes movement easier and minimises wear and tear on bone and cartilage. Adequate hydration will protect the joints from the stress of strenuous workouts.

Here are answers to a few common queries regarding water intake.

“You spoke a lot about dehydration. How do I know if I am dehydrated?”

Some of the sign of dehydration include:

  • Dry Mouth
  • Sunken eyes
  • Headaches
  • Skin elasticity (if your skin is slow to bounce back after being pinched, you could be dehydrated)
  • Muscle cramps

These are symptoms to look for on a daily basis, as this will provide you with a point of reference for adequate hydration levels.

“I make sure to drink water immediately when I am thirsty isn’t that adequate enough?”

Common mistake most of us make is to rely on thirst as the ‘alarm’ bell for when to drink water. Remember thirst is a very late indicator of dehydration. In addition, thirst is sometimes misinterpreted as hunger, so we often eat when we should be drinking – which further exacerbates the problem.

“How much of water should I drink?”

Each individual requires a certain amount for his/her body. Here is a simple formula to estimate your daily water consumption. Recommended protein intake (grams)/day x 0.05 = Daily water intake (litres)
An example of how the formula works, considering 60 grams as a recommended protein intake.
60 grams x 0.05 = 3 litres/day

However the above formula would just give fairly accurate value as there is no ‘gold standard’ for hydration. Because a lot depends on other factors like climate, intake of caffeine based beverages, level of physical activity etc. Determining what your actual needs are, involves some experimentation with your own body. As a thumb rule you are adequately hydrated if your urine is clear and odourless. If it is dark yellow in colour, you are probably not drinking enough and must increase your intake.

“Diet colas, coffee, tea are water based should I consider it as a part of my water intake?”

Absolutely not, all these beverages contain high concentrations of caffeine that have a diuretic effect. This makes hydration even more difficult. Increase your water intake to optimal levels

Now that you have some water facts, you can work towards increasing your water intake to prevent dehydration and in optimal health and fitness. Drinking 4-6 litres of water a day can be overwhelming, but if you break it up over the course of the day, it’s not that bad.

So Happy Drinking!
WATER of course!!!

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