Have you breathed today? Then you need water. Have you eaten today? You’re probably thirsty now. Have you gotten in a good workout? Then it’s time to drink up. The body is approximately 60% water. Your cells, organs and tissues all use water to regulate basic functions. Even when you breathe, you lose water through exhaling. If you’re still not convinced of how important drinking water really is, I can help make it crystal clear.
Top reasons to stay hydrated:
- Because when you use it, you lose it. A very active person or athlete will lose a lot of water and nutrients through perspiration. Drinking water during and after your workouts will help replenish fluids and electrolytes.
- To control appetite. Downing a glass of water every couple hours will help keep the belly full and the mind alert. If you’re not drinking water throughout the day, it can be easy to mistake thirst for hunger. Stay hydrated and you’ll be better able to distinguish between the two.
- To deliver oxygen to cells. Water helps carry oxygen and nutrients to cells throughout the body, which is why it’s so important to keep drinking water during your workout.
- To support digestion. Water helps break down food. It especially helps your body dissolve soluble fiber, so your digestive system continues to run smoothly.
- For toned muscles. Feeling bloated? Your body is actually holding on to what little water it has to conserve. Because you have deprived it of water, your body will retain it as a defense mechanism. Drink up to reduce bloating and reveal that six-pack.
How much is enough?
Your body’s needs depend on your level of activity. Some people can get away with eight (8-oz.) glasses of water each day. But if you’re hitting the gym regularly, or have a physically-intense job, your body will sweat out a lot of its reserves. A good rule of thumb is to drink half your body weight in ounces per day. This means an active 150-pound person will need to drink 75 ounces of water.
And, no, your cup of coffee or pre-workout drink doesn’t count towards your daily water intake. Caffeinated beverages actually dehydrate you, because they are diuretics that rid the body of water. Instead of heading for the coffee pot, fill your next cup with water. And keep a water bottle on your desk or in your bag at all times. With water always on hand, you’ll soon realize how easy it is to get the recommended amount without a second thought.
Get fitness and sports nutrition tips from personal trainer Deniz Duygulu, an International Federation of BodyBuilders Men’s Physique pro athlete. Like Deniz on Facebook to watch videos demonstrating correct form and for advice on fueling effectively.