Did you know that approximately half of your body weight is water? Or that over 90% of your blood volume is water? Hopefully, you are starting to get an idea of how important water is to your overall health and fitness and why being dehydrated can have a negative influence on your life.
Some of the main functions of water include temperature regulation, the protection and lubrication of joints and tissues, and it is essential for waste transport and removal. Water is lost during the day through your skin as sweat, it is exhaled with every breath, and it is excreted through the kidneys and digestive systems. The way you add water to your body is via the food and beverages you ingest daily. It’s important to have some sort of fluid balance between how much water you add and lose each day.
So, how can you tell how hydrated you are? The easiest way is to check your urine color. This is a great visual aid to help you determine your hydration status and it also provides some helpful cues on how much water you should be ingesting based on the temperature and how hard you are working. The other common way to determine how hydrated you are requires the use of a scale. Measuring your body weight allows you to track changes in hydration over time. If you are on a general weight maintenance program any changes in body weight immediately after waking up will be due to fluid loss. To get the best idea of your hydration status you should try to use both of these methods. You can also calculate how much water you lose during exercise by weighing yourself before and after a workout, any changes in weight will be due to water loss. After figuring out how much water you have lost, you’ll have a better idea of how much water you need to rehydrate. The phrase ‘a pints a pound, the world around’ is a common way to remember how much water you should drink for each pound lost.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has some suggestions on ways to increase water consumption throughout the day. They recommend carrying a water bottle with you during the day for easy access, substituting water for sugary beverages during meals and throughout the day, and in case you think it tastes plain you can add in a wedge of lime or lemon for an improved flavor.