Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Water


Image from:  www.brainfoggles.com


Water is the most vital compound to our existence.  I cannot think of another compound that has so many physiological benefits.  How important is water?  Well, humans are composed primarily of water as shown in the figure directly below:

Figure 1:  The Amount of Water in Humans -- image from:  www.discoveringwomenmagazine.com

So, why drink water?  The list of reasons is quite extensive as shown below:

The Physiological Benefits of Drinking Water

1.  Boosts immune system

2.  Promotes weight loss 

3.  Helps the kidneys flush out toxins

4.  Increases energy & relieves fatigue

5.  Improves skin complexion, giving you a younger appearance

6.  Maintains regularity

7.  Helps prevent and relieve headaches

8.  Prevents muscle cramps & joint sprains

9. "Energizes" muscles 

10.  Helps prevent kidney stones

11.  Improves concentration & focus

12.  Combats skins disorders (eczema, psoriasis, dry skin, wrinkles & spots)

13.  Helps to increase metabolic rate

14. Likely to reduce the risks of bladder & colon cancer

15.  Helps maintain a neutral ph of 7 (necessary for proper  body functions)

How much water should you drink?  Take your body weight in pounds and multiply by 0.5 -- that is the number of ounces of water that you should drink per day.  For example, if you weigh 120 lbs, you should take in 60 ounces of water daily, which is equal to 7.5 cups.

If you are exercising at a moderate to high intensity, you should probably be increasing your water intake beyond the amount recommended in the formula above.  The following recommendation is fairly standard for runners:  An hour or two before you run or race, take in 16 ounces of water or sports drink.  Then, consume between 5 and 12 ounces of fluid every 15 to 20 minutes during the run.  If you are running for less than an hour, you will do fine with just water; however, if you are running for longer, you will need to use a sports drink.  When running, do not wait until you are thirsty to start drinking -- if you do, you will probably start suffering from the effects of dehydration.

Stay tuned for a separate blog post (within the next two weeks) on fluid replacement while running.  In the meantime, listen to your body!!!  Drink plenty and drink often!