Water is the most important thing for our survival, except maybe air. The human body can go without food for weeks, but only 7 days max without water. When the sensation of thirst is first triggered, we are only low by 1% of water in the body. Talk about a sensitive system! When we start to have a decline in endurance and strength, we are usually around 5% below normal ranges. At a reduction of 10%, you will start to have blurred vision and delirium. When you get above 10%, you are looking at some serious complications. When you finally get to 20% below normal levels of your water stores, you are looking at a result of death.
Our bodies are comprised of about 50-60% water. That is a lot of water. But when you look at all of the other organs and how much water they are comprised of, you will gain an even bigger appreciation for this miracle liquid. These numbers are rounded up or down for ease.
The blood is made up of 83% water
The heart is 79%
Our muscles are 76%
The brain is 75%
The skin is 72%
Our bones are 22%
When you look at these numbers, it is easy to see why even a minor dehydration can cause muscle weakness and issues with the brain.
Water works as a solvent and a solvent transporter. Many things are dissolved in water within the body and then transported to where they need to go to help the body function properly. Some of the important things water transports is glucose, fat and oxygen through the blood stream and urine. Urine is what flushes the toxins out of our body, and if we do not have enough water in the system and therefore not enough urine, we can have an accumulation of toxins in the body.
Water is involved in the process of lubrication our joints. So if you have joint troubles take a look at your water intake. This is an interesting point, because when many people start to have joint pain their first though is to get on a supplement or medication to help with the joints. While getting a supplement and/or medication might be the solution, the first place one should look is their fluid levels and their nutrition and it is usually the last thing to be thought of.
Water helps us balance our PH levels and electrolytes. Our PH level should ideally stay right around the 7.4 range. If our PH is too high (Alkaline) or too low (Acidic) then our body is showing signs of disease. Water helps flush excessive acids out of the body so it can maintain a better balance.
Water is our body’s natural temperature regulator. When you get too hot, you lose water through your sweat. If you do not have enough water in your system your body’s regulating system does not work at full capacity.
We lose anywhere between 2-3 quarts of water daily on average when just going about your normal low physically active day. This is why you hear health professionals so often talk about the importance of getting plenty of water in every day. They are not just spouting this for no good reason. We can lose a couple of liters of water per hour when exercising alone. This is why we are recommended to keep hydrating before during and after exercising. If you have never cared about taking water with you when you workout then you are cheating yourself out of a better workout, since as we discussed above, our stamina and strength diminishes when we are even 5% below our normal levels of liquid in the body.
We have touched on some of the basics of why water is so important. I hope that by reading this you will have a better understanding of why you should be ingesting more of this vital substance. Make sure you get an adequate amount of water in your day, this will vary depending on your specific body, as well as your level of activity. If you have not been getting near enough in then at least get in 8-9 glasses average for women and 13 average for men. This is not a definite number, but it is a place to start from. Welcome to the great world of being hydrated!