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How Much Water is Enough For Optimum Health?

Water, water everywhere! But, how much do you really need? If you are like me you have heard that 8 glasses of water a day is really just an old wives tale and we don’t need that much water. Or do we? Consider the following facts:

  • water-glassOur brains are composed of about 73% water.
  • Water constitutes almost 60% of an adult’s body weight and forms the major part of almost every body tissue including muscle tissue which is about 75% water.
  • Water participates in every chemical reaction in the body.
  • Water lubricates joints and is the fluid in the eyes as well as the spinal cord.
  • Water hydrates our skin and moistens the lungs.
  • Water carries nutrients and waste products throughout the body.
  • Often when we feel fatigued or even hungry we actually just need water
  • Water is extremely important in the regulation of body temperature.
  • In 2004 the Food and Nutrition Board released new dietary reference for water: 91 oz. daily for women and 125 oz. for men to be consumed through various beverages and water rich fruit and vegetables.

When you exercise follow the following “Hydration Hints” from the American Council on Exercise

  • Drink 17-20 oz. of water 2-3 hours before you start exercising.
  • Drink 8 oz of fluid 20-30 minutes immediately prior to exercise.
  • Drink 7-10 oz of fluid every 10-20 minutes during exercise.
  • After exercising drink another 8 oz. within 30 minutes.
  • Drink 16-24 oz. of fluid for every pound of body weight loss during strenuous exercise.
  • Water is the best fluid for most individuals, although sports drinks with electrolytes may help during high intensity exercise exceeding 45 minutes.

For regular exercisers maintaining a constant supply of water is essential to performance. Dehydration leads to muscle fatigue and loss of concentration. Drink before you actually feel thirsty. If you wait to drink until you are thirsty your body is already on the way to dehydration!

So there you have it; the old adage to drink 8 glasses of water a day, is probably not enough water! So drinks, drink, drink and enjoy great workouts, a healthy complexion, and lots of energy!

Lisa Prince headshotLisa Prince is an AASDN Nutrition Specialist and Nutrition Manager. She is also an ACE Fitness Nutrition Specialist, Health Coach, and Personal Trainer. Lisa is the owner of Advance Weight Loss & Fitness located in Portland, Maine. Lisa has been helping her clients change their relationship with food and exercise for the past 11 years. Lisa became a Nutrition Specialist after struggling with her own weight and self-esteem issues. In total she lost a third of her body weight. Lisa can be reached at Lisa@maineweightlosscoach.com

MFN Contributing Author