A Drop to Drink: water and your physical health

Today, in 2016, we hardly need to emphasize the health value of water – in fact, it’s more of a necessity than ever in our hurried, busy, busy life. Without it, in a few days, we would die. We can go for weeks without food, but only 3 days without water!

After all, the human body is mostly composed of water: it makes up more than two thirds of our body weight – the brain weighing in at 95% water, our blood 80% water, and lungs comprised of 90% water. Every cell and organ function of our entire anatomy and physiology depends on water to function optimally.During normal daily life, this water diminishes and has to be replaced from an external source.

The body cannot produce it for itself. Water is not only essential to life – it is key to good health and fitness. It plays a major role in restoring tissue elasticity, muscle power and general vitality. Mere exercise of the body is futile if you are not going to continually replenish it with water.

What does water do?

Water lubricates our whole body from our digestive system to our joints and cartilages and even our eyes. Saliva is a liquid that is vital to the chewing and swallowing process. When dehydrated, the body will try and draw water from every organ and the joints in order to keep functioning. Like a motor car running out of oil, we need water because it:

  • Keeps our joints functioning smoothly and fluidly. Without water our joints begin to create friction and lack of water is often the reason we develop diseases such as arthritis and osteoporosis.
  • Regulates body temperature through perspiration. In this way the body cools and keeps from overheating. But with this water loss, we must remember to continually replace lost fluid.
  • Facilities the movement of blood. Water routes it into areas close to the surface of the skin where it can be cooled and then carried back to the interior of the body. Alternatively when the body cools too much, water helps to hold blood back from the exterior surface, conserving heat in the body. The movement of water within our cellular systems is therefore vital to our daily comfort.
  • Is important for good digestion and nutrient absorption. Carbohydrates and proteins are metabolized and transported by water in the bloodstream. And as the key process of the digestive system, water is the prime element in transporting waste material out of our bodies.
  • Contributes directly to optimum circulation and energy. Drinking water increases your metabolic rate. It carries oxygen to all parts of the body, helping to burn fat and create energy – probably the two effects you are looking for when you begin an exercise regime. It’s been proven that water works better than carbohydrates or sugary beverages for sustaining the benefits of moderate exercise. Put simply, energy is depleted by dehydration.
  • Removes toxins through the digestive tract. Water can also, and most significantly reduce the appetite naturally. Not only that, but more water will reduce fatty deposits in the body. Hunger pangs are more often triggered by lack of water than by genuine hunger. The thirst drive dies as less water is consumed, leading to the situation where many people begin to eat more than they should when in fact they should just drink a couple of glasses of water.
  • Protects your heart. One glass first thing in the morning cleans all the organs and one glass before bedtime can help to prevent heart attacks during the night.
  • Transports the brain’s food, oxygen. To enliven thought processes, you need the medium of water to get oxygen to the brain. In this way, water is fundamental to clearer, quicker thinking. It helps you to achieve better retention while studying, and increases your analytical skills. Water is the key to nurturing the most important organ in your body.

Signs you are dehydrated

Dehydration can be triggered by a mere 2% drop in our body’s water supply. Dehydration is responsible for a range of easily-fixable ailments such as: fuzzy short-term memory; trouble with basic math; difficulty in focusing on small print, such as computer screens; daytime fatigue; headaches; joint pain, and much more. Consistent failure to drink enough water can lead to Chronic Cellular Dehydration. Without water the body’s cells are left in a continually weakened state, suffering from weakened immunity, vulnerability to attack from disease, and chemical, nutritional and PH imbalances.

How much water do you need daily?

Be careful not to fall into the trap of thinking that if you are consuming just any kind of liquid during the day, you are hydrating your body. This is not really the case and can result in exactly the opposite situation. Consider the following:

  • Soft drinks and alcohol steal tremendous amounts of water from the body.
  • Other beverages such as coffee and tea are diuretics and therefore may drain considerable amounts of moisture from your body.
  • Dehydration doesn’t only depend on the time of year such as summer. While perspiration on really hot days may remind you to drink more water in the summer, you must remember to hydrate equally in winter when cold temperatures can use up liquid energy internally as well.
  • Everybody is different – so the optimum accepted value would be to drink half our body weight in ounces of water every day to provide the body with its essential water replacement requirements. Four to six glassed per day fits the average person.
  • But even so, minimum amounts of water are not what you should focus on. Be prepared to double or treble this amount daily to ensure you are well hydrated!

Welcome to the world of health and fitness!

We know that today more and more people appreciate the importance of health and personal wellbeing. And the market for fitness specialists has grown exponentially during the past decade. Understanding your need for a health programme underpinned by the right support, we have developed a user-friendly platform where the general public and personal trainers can meet. Every professional trainer has a unique profile page containing all their relevant information, including experience and contact details. It couldn’t be easier!

Visit us at www.myhealthandfitness.co.za – and find the right health and fitness professional to suit you – an expert who will not only help you meet your personal fitness goals but provide you with all the health and physical care advice you need.

About My Health and Fitness

Welcome to My Health and Fitness, a rich source of articles to help you become the best version of yourself. From diet to exercise and general health, our content contributors (including Biokineticists, Physiotherapists, and Fitness Professionals) will cover all your frequently asked questions and more!

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Disclaimer: Our articles are not meant to replace any medical advice as given to you by your doctor or healthcare specialist. Always consult your doctor before trying out a new exercise routine or making drastic changes to your diet, especially where pre-existing conditions are applicable.

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