How Much Water Should You Drink A Day?

Water plays a vital role in both health and sports performance. The body is made up of 60 – 70% of water so it is important to consume enough water each day – but why is it so important and how much water should you drink each day?

Due to the percentage of water that makes up a person, it play’s many critical roles throughout the body. More specifically, it’s used as a transportation system to move substances around the body. It’s found in our blood, it helps to remove waste products from the body, it’s involved in temperature regulation, it’s mixed up in our metabolism, it helps to lubricate our joints, and impacts our ability to perform at our chosen sports.

A lack of water in the body, otherwise known as dehydration, can cause headaches, blurry vision, a feeling of thirst, reduced urine output, a dry mouth, dark colored urine, reduced mobility and flushed skin. It also impacts our mental function by forcing the brain to have low levels of concentration, decreased reaction times, difficulty in performing skilled movements, and making complex to simple decisions.

Dehydration is life threatening and can seriously compromise sports performance. Exercise causes us to increase our sweat rate which means that fluid consumption for the day must increase. Living in hot or humid environment can also increase the risk of dehydration, as does living in areas where altitude is an issue. The net is an athlete must be vigilant on staying hydrated.

The body loses fluid through urine output, digestive excretion, and sweat production, so because of this it is important that an individual drinks enough fluid to offset these losses. It is thought that the human body can go without food for around 40 days but when you restrict water intake this statistic drops to only 4 – 5 days.

Apart from noticing the symptoms of dehydration, another method to check hydration is to check that you have pale and plentiful urine. The clearer the urine, the more hydrated you are. The darker the color, the more dehydrated you are. One point to remember with this method is that multivitamin supplements can discolor urine so in this case the color of urine is not a good indicator of hydration. As a guideline you should also aim to pass urine four to five times a day.

Due to each person having our own unique needs it is somewhat difficult to give a precise answer for an individual in terms of how much water to drink a day. However, with that said it is thought that women need approximately at least 2 liters a day to offset their losses and males should drink 3 liters. Surprisingly many people do not realize that food can actually supply water during the day so your entire intake does not need to come simply from liquids. As a matter of fact food can provide up to and around 1 liter of this needed fluid. Obviously this depends on the food you eat, but if one eats their recommended intake of fruit and vegetables this 1 liter can be achieved quite easily.

To summarize water is vital and is needed for both your overall health and your sporting performance. Dehydration can and will compromise your performance so you must always be conscious to stay hydrated. Remember, not all of your fluids do not need to come from water because food can provide some of this fluid. Lastly individuals should try to urinate 4 – 5 times a day and have pale colored urine.


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