Pour yourself a tall, cold glass of Dihydrogen Monoxide, also known as water, and drink up while you are reading this article!
You’ve probably heard that our bodies are made up of 70% water. Well, that’s mostly true- we’re about 55-65% water depending on how much lean mass (muscle) versus fat mass you have. Lean mass carries more water, and men tend to have more muscle than women, so they tend to be the more aqueous of the sexes. Never the less, over half of our physical being is made of water. That’s quite a bit! We are made up of so much water because our bodies need water for most of the complex processes happening continuously that keep us alive.
Our bodies use water to regulate our body temperature via sweating and respiration. Our blood relies on water to continue flowing, thus carrying nutrients through the body and carrying waste products to the kidneys and liver for disposal. Water helps form the fluid that lubricates our joints. Water also helps form the fluid around our brains and spinal cords which act as a shock absorption system.
Because our bodies rely so heavily on water to continue functioning, and our bodies are constantly using up our supply of water to regulate temperature and help excrete waste products, it is important to replenish our water supplies consistently.
“The average person loses 2.5% of total body water per day (about 1200 milliliters [1.25 quarts]) in urine, in expired air, by insensible perspiration, and from the gastrointestinal tract.” www.britannica.com
Dehydration is the state in which your body’s water supply is decreased. This is what leads people to feel thirsty and feel the urge to drink water. Being mildly to moderately dehydrated can lead to irritability, confusion, dry mouth, difficulty swallowing, dry skin, headache, and a decrease in physical performance. In severe cases of dehydration, blood pressure will drop, heart rate and breathing will often increase, fever can occur, and in extreme cases, loss of consciousness will occur.
So as temperatures start to warm up and we are all spending more time outside in the beautiful Colorado spring, make sure to drink plenty of water to keep your body happy and healthy! Common recommendations are to drink eight 8 ounce glasses of water per day, but keep in mind that being more active and living in a dry climate (yup, that’s us!) will increase your water needs!
Bob Cranny, PT