The Importance of Hydration: Please, Drink Water!
A simple fact of life is that we need three things to survive: food, air, and water. The human body is essentially made of 50% water throughout the lifespan. It varies by age, gender, and body size, but in general, we are mostly fluid. Read on to find out the vital importance of hydration.
Water is important in all of our vital functions and is in our organs, skin, muscles, and, of course, blood. It allows nutrients to dissolve and be carried to tissues throughout the body, sustaining life and allowing everything we take for granted and don’t have to think about. In a roundabout way, it even allows us to think – because thoughts are a series of neurons firing in the brain, which are made possible through electric conductions due to ions transported in water. Muscles work because of a very similar process. So in synopsis, water makes everything in us work.
Dealing with Dehydration
On a daily basis, I work with people who are dehydrated and don’t drink nearly enough water. We consistently have a patient in the clinic performing an exercise, and they start to cramp. The hamstrings and calf muscles are almost always the culprit, and cramping isn’t likely going to improve until the person is rehydrated. Some may think rehydration is going to occur immediately, but that isn’t the case. So let’s prevent the problem in the first place and hydrate: the simple solution is to drink more water. However, it’s not totally that simple.
The 50% Rule: Finding Your Quota
The general rule of thumb is to take your body weight and divide it by 2, and that is the amount of ounces per day you should drink. So a 150-pound person should be drinking 75 ounces per day minimum. That does not account for caffeine, exercise, or hot environments. All of those things require water intake to be increased. When I say water, I generally mean fluid, but as mentioned, caffeinated beverages like coffee, tea, soda, and energy drinks, as well as alcohol, are all diuretics. This means they make you lose more water through urine, which again means you need to increase water intake.
Beyond the Basics: Electrolytes
Additionally, there is a need for electrolytes in the diet (or drinks) required to make nerves and muscles function properly, but let’s save that discussion for another time.
The Takeaway: DRINK MORE WATER!
If you scrolled down to this point, this is the takeaway – DRINK MORE WATER. ½ your body weight in ounces. Tell everyone you know! It could save their life.
If you’re ready to rev up your wellness in the new year, a good first step would be to reach out to us here at Arizona Orthopedic Physical Therapy. We have 5 physical therapy clinics in Arizona ready to help you feel your best!