It is important to make sure you stay hydrated – even more so in the summer. Water makes up about 60% of total body weight; everyone’s water content varies based on body composition. Our blood contains about 83% water, bones 22%, muscle 75%, and fat about 25% water. Water has many vital functions in the body what make it essential for our health:
- Lubricant for our joints and shock absorber from the eyes and spinal cord
- Solvent to dissolve proteins (DNA, enzymes, etc.
- Transporter to carry nutrients to cells and remove waste
- Temperature regulator (sweating)
- Mineral source (including fluoride, calcium, magnesium, etc.)
- Catalyst for chemical reactions.
We lose water several ways including breathing, sweating, and urinating. Exercise and exposure to the summer heat make it even more essential for us to consume additional water to make up for the extra water we lose. If our output of fluids exceeds our intake a fluid imbalance occurs and dehydration can develop.
Thirst is usually the first indicator of dehydration we notice. But, by the time we are thirsty a 1-2% reduction of our bodyweight due to water loss had occurred and our performance, mental focus, and clarity have already decreased. Higher percentages of water loss can lead to illness or even death. Some other symptoms include:
- Headaches and chronic joint pain
- Fatigue and weakness (Feel tired often?)
- Low blood pressure
- Dizziness and Nausea
- Rapid heart rate
- Dry skin and mucous membranes (mouth, nose, eyes)
How Much is Enough?
The amount of water an individual needs varies from person to person; it depends on our size, physical activity, stress, diet, and the climate and temperature. We consume about 1 Liter (33oz) of our daily water needs from the food we eat; the rest must come from drinking good old H2O. As a general recommendation, take your body weight and divide it by 2 — this is approximately the number of ounces of water you should be drinking every day (ex. if you weigh 140 pounds you should drink about 70oz per day).