Water is one of the most important and underutilized nutrients. When we do not drink enough water, all of the systems in our body can go haywire. When we are dehydrated, it can make us think we are hungry when we are not, it can undercut our physical performance, and it can mess with our mood.
- Sedentary men and women should consume 3L (13 cups) and 2.2L (9 cups) of water per day. For fat loss programs, individuals should drink an additional 8 ounces of water for every 25 pounds they carry above their ideal weight. Water intake should be increased if an individual is exercising with moderate-intense effort, or residing in a hot climate.
- 60% of the adult human body is water by weight.
- Benefits of consuming adequate water:
Endocrine gland function improves, fluid retention(bloating) is alleviated, liver functions improve, natural thirst returns, metabolic functions improve, nutrients are distributed throughout body, body-temperature regulation improves, blood volume is maintained.
- Fluid loss of 2% of body weight will adversely affect circulatory functions and decrease performance levels. Thirst alone is poor indicator of how much water is needed.
- Athletes consistently consume too little fluids, managing to replace only 50% of sweat losses. Do not begin practice session or endurance comp until body is at or slightly above standard weight.
- Drink 14 to 22 ounces 2 hours before exercise. Drink 6 to 12 ounces of fluid every 15 to 20 minutes. Fluids should be cold because of more rapid gastric emptying (body absorbs it more quickly).
- If exercise of moderate-intense effort exceeds 60 minutes, consume a sports drink.
- When exercising for less than 60 minutes, water is ideal for fluid replacement: Drink 16 to 24 ounces of fluid for every pound of body weight lost after exercise.