Why Is Water Important?
Did you know water is considered an essential nutrient? It seems funny since we all know water has no caloric value, yet it’s completely vital to our health and can literally be a factor between life versus death in some severe situations. So what about water is so important? What does it do for us?
What does water do for us?
The body is made up of ~60% water, meaning a majority of your body’s cells utilize and need water to survive and thrive. Water maintains many important functions in the body, some of those include: maintaining appropriate body temperature, maintaining blood pH, energy production, new cell/nutrient/DNA/RNA/protein production, digestion, muscle contraction, etc. When understanding all of the important roles water plays in the body, it isn’t hard to see why it’s vital to keep your water intake at an appropriate level every day. When you don’t, many problems can occur in the body.
What happens when we don’t consume enough water?
After reading the functions of water in the body, I’m sure you can imagine what can happen when you aren’t hydrated. Even though mild dehydration causes the body a lot of stress and dysfunction, it is something that happens often and something that many people live with everyday. This is alarming when you consider the serious consequences. Severe dehydration, although it does not happen often, is even more alarming and has harsher side effects than simply being mildly dehydrated. The following are some signs and symptoms of mild to severe dehydration in order:
- Muscle cramps
- Decreased urine output leading to kidney dysfunction
- Dry/cold skin
- Tachycardia + Low blood pressure
How much water should you drink a day to avoid dehydration and stay healthy?
The amount of water needed per day varies by individual. Generally, the average person should consume a baseline of 1–1.5 gallons or 4.5–6 liters of water a day. This is typically enough water to keep a standard person from becoming dehydrated. It is important to note that this amount of water intake will not suffice for someone with a more active lifestyle. A person who is extremely active will always need to intake more water than a person who is relatively sedentary. For example, a marathon runner who trains 5–6 days a week, running 6+ miles a day, will need to consume far more water than someone who lifts weights for 45 minutes 3–4 days a week, even though both should have a baseline amount that is relatively similar. When the body conducts more activities, it will naturally need to utilize more water to perform the necessary functions. Whatever lifestyle you choose, always remember that water is vital to your overall health. One of the most important keys to note is that the more exercise/activity you do a day, the more water you should consume to keep your body functioning healthily and optimally!
-Samantha Miller, Zero Doubt Club