Monday, October 20, 2014

Why Do We Need to Drink More Water?

We hear it all the time – drink more water. But why do we need to drink more water? I found answers while going through my Certified Personal Trainer course.
According to the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM), sedentary men should consume on average 3.0 L (approx. 13 cups) and women 2.2 L (approx. 9 cups) of water per day. Individuals participating in a fat loss program should drink an additional 8 oz of water for every 25 pounds they carry above their ideal weight. And if an individual is exercising intensely or residing in a hot climate, water intake should be increased.
Wow! I know, that is a LOT of water every day. It can be difficult to drink that much water every day if you’re not used to it. You may be wondering if it’s reallythat important to drink so much water. The answer is, YES!
Water is vital to life itself; it constitutes approximately 60% of an adult’s body by weight. Whereas deficiencies of nutrients such as the macronutrients, vitamins, and minerals may take weeks or even years to develop, one can only survive for a few days without water.
Ways that Water Benefit the Body
*Endocrine gland function improves.
*Fluid retention is alleviated.
*Liver functions improve, increasing the percentage of fat used for energy.
*Natural thirst returns.
*Metabolic functions improve.
*Nutrients are distributed throughout the body.
*Body-temperature regulation improves.
*Blood volume is maintained.
Water and Performance
The importance of proper hydration cannot be stressed enough. ­ The body cannot adapt to dehydration, which impairs every physiologic function. Fluid loss of even 2% of body weight will adversely affect circulatory functions and decrease performance levels.
Effects of Dehydration
*Decreased blood volume
*Decreased performance
*Decreased blood pressure
*Decreased sweat rate
*Increased core temperature
*Increased heart rate
*Sodium retention
*Decreased cardiac output
*Decreased blood flow to the skin
*Increased perceived exertion
*Increased use of muscle glycogen
Thirst alone is a poor indicator of how much water is needed. Athletes consistently consume inadequate fluid volume, managing to replace approximately 50% of sweat losses. So it is important to drink water throughout the day as well as during exercise.
Guidelines for Fluid Replacement for Athletes
*Consume 14 to 22 ounces (1.75 to 2.75 cups) of fluid 2 hours before exercise.
*Drink 6 to 12 ounces of fluid for every 15 to 20 minutes of exercise.
*Fluids should be cold because of more rapid gastric emptying.
*If exercise exceeds 60 minutes, use of a sports drink (containing up to 8% carbohydrate) can replace both fluid and dwindling muscle glycogen stores.
*When exercising for less than 60 minutes, water is the experts’ choice for fluid replacement.
*The goal is to replace sweat and urine losses.
*Ingest 16 to 24 ounces of fluid for every pound of body weight lost after an exercise bout, especially if rapid rehydration is necessary, as in twice-a-day training.
So now that I’ve given a lot of information about why it is so important to drink enough water, you may be wondering how on earth you’re going to drink 9-13 cups or more a day. Here are some ideas:
Ways to Drink More Water
*Carry water with you everywhere. Keep a reusable water bottle in your purse, gym bag, desk drawer, or car, and be sure to refill it regularly.
*Lobby for a water cooler in your office.
*Substitute Water for Sweetened Beverages and Alcohol
*Alternate between alcoholic drinks and water at parties, bars, or meals.
*Replace soda or sports drinks with water.
*Quench your thirst with water.
*Drink Unsweetened Water-Based Beverages such as unsweetened herbal or fruit teas and water infused with fresh fruit or mint leaves.
*Try carbonated water such as sparkling water.

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