By now, everyone has heard that you’re supposed to drink 8-10 glasses of water a day. We’ve all heard it, but how many of us actually do it?
Today, I’m going to cover why drinking enough water is so important for your health and why it’s absolutely essential if you want to lose weight.
First, let’s cover the basics. Your body is 60-70% water. Your blood is almost all water. Your muscles contain water. Heck, even your bones contain water. Water is essential to proper body function. Your body uses water to regulate its temperature, transport nutrients, build body tissue, digest food, breathe, lubricate joints, and a whole host of other tasks.
Basically, without water you die.
When you’re dehydrated, exercise becomes more difficult.
Studies have show that even mild dehydration of just 3% of your body weight can decrease your strength by 10%. And if 10-12% of your body’s weight in water is lost, death can occur. So before, during, and after exercise, be sure to drink water.
Water Is Essential For Weight Loss
How Much Water Should You Drink?
The number you hear thrown out most often is that you should drink 8 8oz glasses of water a day (64oz). However, for many people, especially active people, your needs may be a gallon of water or more.
The National Research Council recommends 1-1.5 ml of water for ever calorie (kcal) you use each day. So, if you typically expend 2000 calories a day, then you should drink 66-100 ounces of water a day. If you expend 3000 calories a day, then you should drink 100-149 ounces of water each day.
It may seem like a lot of water, but keep in mind that once you feel thirsty, you’re already in a state of mild dehydration. Your goal should be to never be thirsty.
Hungry Or Thirsty?
It’s been said that the thirst mechanism is so weak in most people that it’s often mistaken for hunger. So next time you think you’re hungry, drink a glass of water first and wait 15 minutes. In many cases, you won’t be hungry anymore, but if you’re still hungry, then by all means eat. So just by drinking water you can stop yourself from overeating and this process alone may help you lose a few pounds.
Can I drink anything besides water?
Yes, but you should still make it your goal to drink mostly water. If you want to enjoy a sports drink after a workout, go ahead. If you want to have your morning cup of coffee, that’s also okay.
However, soda doesn’t count (you really shouldn’t drink soda except on special occasions) and alcohol certainly doesn’t count alcohol actually dehydrates you and stops fat loss dead in its tracks.
Can I Drink Too Much Water?
So yes, it is actually possible to drink too much water. It’s called water intoxication (or hyperhydration and water poisoning) and it happens when you drink more water than the body can remove (i.e. you drink too much too fast). It can also happen if you’re drinking a lot of water but not replacing electrolytes during heavy exercise (i.e. you’re running a marathon).
However, this is very rare, and almost everyone doesn’t drink enough water, so don’t be afraid to drink water. If you’re really concerned after a workout that you don’t have enough electrolytes, then have a sports drink (gatorade or powerade are acceptable) or eat a banana.
What kind of water should I drink?
I don’t like the idea of there being chlorine and fluoride in my tap water, so I don’t drink tap water if I can help it. I usually just buy spring water by the gallon at my local supermarket for about 60cents/gallon. However, if you prefer using a water filter or if you enjoy plain ole tap water, then go ahead. There are certain types of water that are slightly better for you than others, but for now, I would just concentrate on drinking the water rather than worrying about any of the other small details.
Have a great day, and bottoms up.