Water: Is It In You?
(This article is written by Dan Bockmann, D.C. Read it to learn all about body's hydration and the top 7 reasons we should be "topping off our tank" regularly.)
Okay, we all agree. We need to stay hydrated! ...
A Drop of ...
... But for some reason, 70% of Americans still don't drink their 2-3 liters of water each day. Why is that? The most common reasons I hear from patients are that "doesn't taste good", "I'm just not that thirsty", or "I forget to drink." Sound familiar?
Let's start off with an analogy that might interest you. You've had beef jerky before, right? Jerky is dehydrated beef. It's hard, it's wrinkly and it's shriveled.
If you fail to drink enough water each day, you start turning YOURSELF into jerky. Wrinkly skin and all. Not a pleasant image. And that's not all. Here are the top 7 reasons you should be "topping off your tank" regularly:
- 1. Boost your performance. In one hour of exercise (like tennis), you can lose 1 - 2.5 liters of water through sweat. That's a half gallon! If you weigh 150 lbs, that
works out to be 4.5 lbs of fluid loss, which is 3% of your body weight! A 3% loss of body weight increases the risk of heat cramps, heat exhaustion & heat stroke, as well as drastically reducing
- 2. Give yourself a face-lift! Drinking water replenishes sagging skin cells, which firms & hydrates the skin, smoothes wrinkles and keeps pores clear.
- 3. Lubricate your joints. Cartilage is the "Teflon" coating in joints that prevents wear & tear. Both articular cartilage (knees, shoulders, fingers...) and fibrocartilage (meniscus, spinal discs...) are mostly water. Synovial fluid is the liquid lubricant in your joints, and is almost completely water. Skipping a couple glasses a day can cause your joints to wear out early.
- 4. Allergies? Just add water. Nasal & sinus congestion happens when mucus becomes too thick to drain properly. It clogs the airways, makes breathing
difficult & provides an ideal breeding ground for bacteria. Drinking plenty of water during allergy season helps thin out the mucus & allows it to drain normally.
- 5. Make your heart happy. Dehydration reduces blood volume, creating thicker, more concentrated blood, which stresses the heart. This also decreases the blood's ability to carry oxygen & nutrients to your cells. Staying hydrated helps keep your heart from overworking, and can reduce blood pressure.
- 6. Overweight? Hydrate! This one is good for several reasons. First of all, if your body doesn't get enough water, its reaction is to store the water it does have. Drinking more water stops this cycle of water retention. Also, thirst is often mistaken for hunger. Next time you have a snack attack, try drinking 8 oz of water instead. And finally, fat cells are harder to burn off when you're dehydrated.
- 7. Avoid brain drain.
Your brain is 75% water, and even a slight dehydration can impair coordination, concentration & thinking. Missing out on water is actually draining your brain.
This list goes on and on, but the point is, getting plenty of the wet stuff each day is a ridiculously easy way to help yourself look, feel & move better. And if you're having trouble increasing your fluid intake, here are some tips that may help.
- Keeping track. Keep a 1-liter bottle with you at home & work. If you're female, drain it twice a day. Males, three times.
- Test your hydration. Your urine should be straw-colored to clear. If it's a dark yellow, you're dehydrated. NOTE: pigments in certain B vitamins can cause your urine to turn a neon yellow color. This does not necessarily mean you're dehydrated.
- Don't like the taste of water? Try juice, milk, sugar-free Kool Aid or sparkling water throughout the day. NOTE: caffeine and alcohol are both diuretics (they cause you to excrete water). If you consume either of these, make sure to drink at least twice as much water as coffee/alcohol.
Now that you know some of the wonderful benefits of Hydrogen Hydroxide (H2O), it's time to start taking advantage of them. Try drinking a little extra water, several times a day to start. It'll be easier, and you won't feel like you're forcing yourself to drink. After just one week, you'll probably see a difference!
Dr. Dan Bockmann practices at Austin Spine & Sport, a chiropractic and sports medicine clinic in Austin, TX. He can be contacted at austinspineandsport.com/. When he's not helping patients, he enjoys playing competitive beach volleyball, climbing rocks at the Greenbelt and sampling unfiltered sake on the patio.
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