Did you know that besides air water is the next most necessary element needed for survival. We can survive without food for a month or two but we can only survive without water for a few days. It's almost shocking to me that some people don't drink hardly any at all and are constantly in a dehydrated state without even being aware of it.
When you don't drink enough water you can end up with excess body fat, digestive problems, muscle soreness and cramps and water retention. Water is needed for most of the body's basic functions so when you don't drink enough your body will retain water especially around the stomach to ensure survival. The funny thing is that drinking more water will ensure less water retention than drinking less which is what the average person thinks. Proper water intake is a key factor in losing weight. Without it the body can't metabolise fat adequately.
Without water we would actually be poisoned to death by our own toxic waste products. Water is essential in helping the kidneys dissolve waste. If there is not enough water it can result in kidney stones. Water is vital in helping the body digest food and metabolise foods. People that suffer regular constipation could find that they are not drinking enough water. Water also helps carry nutrients and oxygen to the body's cells and helps the body cool down by perspiration.
So how much is enough?
So for an average person this is a basic guide to give you an idea. Let's start with a minimum of around 8 glasses of water per day. Starting with at least 1-2 glasses in the morning. Now if you exercise you need to add another 2 glasses on top of that (depending on the glass size). If you drink coffee, black tea, green tea or alcohol add another 1-2 glasses on top of that per coffee/tea/alcoholic drink. If you work outside, have been outside all day, work in air conditioning, heated spaces or it is a particularly hot day add another 1-2 glasses on top of that, If you are overweight you need to add extra water depending on how heavy you are. Herbal tea non-caffeinated is counted as water intake. Sooooooooo........ Are you drinking enough?
At first you will find that you will be running to the bathroom more but in a week or so your bladder will adjust and you will go less but urinate with more volume.
Ok so you are drinking lots of water but are you hydrating?
Now it's not enough that you just drink water to fully hydrate you need to ensure that you are also replenishing your electrolytes. It is very common for people to drink plenty of water and still be dehydrated. This is where the concept of people "drowning" from drinking too much water comes from. Reason being is that the more water you drink the more your electrolyte balance will be off as you dilute your electrolyte count especially if you are not replenishing them. Electrolytes are lost during exercise through sweat, stress will diminish electrolytes as well as hot days. That is why you have drinks such as gatorade (not a big fan and not the best source). The best ways to ensure that you keep your electrolytes in balance is by drinking proper coconut water, drinking hydralyte or adding good quality celtic sea salt to your drinking water and cooking (the one I prefer).
Interesting fact: new research shows that there is an increased risk of traffic accidents due to dehydration. The effect of dehydration can be similar to those effects when you are drunk. The number of driving errors doubled when driving dehydrated versus someone driving hydrated. Just goes to show how unaware and how unconscious you can be about how badly your body feels and these simple things that can be fixed can affect your health in such a big way. Something to think about and become more aware of especially over the warmer months here in Australia.