If you don’t get your daily dose of water, you best think about drinking up. If you’re not getting enough, you’re depriving your body of an essential ingredient. Essentially, your car works better with gas and by the same token your body is better when it’s properly hydrated.
What’s the Importance of Hydration?
Many people underestimate the importance of hydration. Staying hydrated helps your body do everything from regulate its temperature to digest food, optimize brain function and keep your skin and joints working well.
In fact, up to 60 per cent of the human body is water. It breaks it down like this:
- Brain and heart are comprised of 73 per cent
- Lungs — 83 per cent
- Skin — 64 per cent
- Muscles and kidneys — 79 per cent
- Bones — 31 per cent
That’s not all. It probably goes without saying, water helps in the production of bodily fluids like tears, saliva and is the vehicle that whisks waste away through sweat and, ahem, whenever you go to the loo.
Staying Hydrated is Even More Important when you are Sick
“When sick with a virus, proper hydration can help the skin and mucous cell membrane act as a barrier to prevent bacteria from entering the body,” according to the Canadian Digestive Health Foundation. “It can also help decrease nasal irritation when coughing, sneezing and even just breathing.”
How Much Water Should You Drink Per Day?
You might have heard drinking eight cups of water a day is the magic number. But some online research shows the number varies from eight glasses (250ml per glass) and up among experts.
According to Dietitians of Canada, women should drink nine glasses and 12 glasses for men. That varies on each individual and, don’t forget, a lot of food has water in it, too.
Water in | Water out
While doctors push people to drink up, it’s important to recognize that we not only need to bolster our body’s water levels but remember some things we do accelerate its loss. Heck, we do that just by breathing.
“Every day you lose water through your breath, sweat, urine and bowel movements. For your body to function properly, you must replenish its water supply by consuming beverages and foods that contain water,” according Mayo Clinic experts.
So, while eight glasses of water per day is a reasonable goal, how much water you really need depends on lots of things. How much do you exercise? What’s your environment like? And, of course, your overall health plays a role.
Even if you’re not getting the water your body truly requires on any given day, it’s unlikely you’ll become seriously dehydrated. But did you know even mild dehydration can drain your energy and leave you tired so drink up!
How do you Know if you are Hydrated?
Your fluid intake is probably adequate if you rarely feel thirsty and your urine is colourless or light yellow.
Tips for Staying Hydrated
- Grab a glass of water at each of these intervals and you’ll likely give your body the water it needs every day:
- When you wake up
- Prior to each meal
- Before, during and after vigorous exercise
- An hour before bed
- You can add flavour to water to make it easier to drink (think lemons or limes).
- Take it on-the-go by filling a water bottle to take with you when you’re out.
- Eat your water – An apple, for instance, is comprised of 82 per cent water. Fruits, like watermelon, are about 100 per cent water by weight. It’s estimated some 20 per cent of daily fluid intake typically comes from food and the rest from drinks.
- Add some bubbles – many people find it easier to drink carbonated water either plain or with flavour added.
Water Conservation is also Important
If you think water exists in an unlimited supply, you would be wrong. While it is essential to our existence, it’s a finite resource. Canadians use more water per capita than any other country in the world, except for the U.S. Globally, we’re using up fresh water faster than it can be replenished and the warming climate is drying up lakes and rivers. If we’ve made the case for conservation, here are some hacks to use less water so we can save more for ourselves and fellow humans.
Tips for Saving Water
Inside Your Home:
- Shower power; aim for showers that are five minutes or less. Invest in a newer shower head. Older ones can use up to 35 gallons of water (3.5 gallons a minute,) during your 10 minute shower compared to two gallons per minute used by a low flow alternative.
- Brush up on saving water; turn the taps off while you brush your teeth
- Invest in a low-flow toilet; A single flush of an average toilet uses 3.6 gallons of water. A low-flow toilet can lower that anywhere from 0.8 to 1.6 gallons per flush
- Fix leaks. Leaks from pipes or faucets can cost hundreds to thousands of dollars. It creates a lot of water waste so catching it early and getting it fixed is key in saving water and money.
- Only run the dishwasher or washing machine when full because it means they’ll run at optimal performance and efficiency.
Outside Your Home:
- Use a rain barrel for watering plants. Rain barrels save rainwater for outdoor use. Cover them on sunny days to prevent attracting pests and water evaporation.
- Limit outdoor watering. Watering lawns account for the 50% increase in water use during the summer months. Limit watering to early morning or late evening to prevent quick evaporation.
- Put mulch around outdoor plants. Putting two to three inches of mulch can significantly retain water moisture and slow evaporation for your outdoor plants.
- Use a broom, not a hose to clean driveways and sidewalks. It’s very tempting to use a hose to wash down pathways but using a broom can save more water.
Source — Simon Fraser University. Look here for more tips.
March 22, 2022 is World Water Day