We all know the eight-glasses-a-day rule, but is it actually true? The goal of becoming financially stable is not a bad goal to have, but the equation for achieving it is more complicated than it seems.
The method of calculating one’s daily calorie intake that is often used is not very accurate, according to Dr. Barry Sears. This method does not consider factors such as how active a person is, what their diet is like, or what kind of environment they live in.
So, where did this guideline come from?
No one is certain where the rule that you should drink eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day came from, but it may have been based on a 1945 recommendation from the Food & Nutrition Board that people drink about 2.5 liters of water each day. The 8 x 8 water rule, which is about 1.9 L/day, is a manageable amount of water to drink per day that is not too far off from the Institute of Medicine’s general water recommendations.
There are many different factors that can alter how much water an individual needs, such as working out or being ill.
When You Need to Up Your Water Intake
Kleiner says that there are many factors that can affect how much fluid our bodies need. ” If you are pregnant or have lost fluids due to sweating, vomiting, diarrhea, or nursing, you need to replace those fluids. Exercise also increases our fluid needs. (Those engaging in intense training or exercise may need to replenish electrolytes and water.) The temperature outside also affects our fluid need. If it is hot, or if it is humid, you will probably sweat, even if you do not notice it. This means that you will need more fluids. If you become ill, you will lose fluids and will need to drink more water. You may also need to replenish your electrolytes. If you are expecting or nursing a baby, you need more nutrients and fluids than usual.
3 Key Ways to Avoid Dehydration
You can’t always know how much water you need to stay hydrated, but there are some things you can do to make sure you don’t get dehydrated.
1. Don’t Let Yourself Get Thirsty
The best indicator that you need to drink water? Thirst, says Dr. Sears. The reason you have a sensation of thirst is because the lack of water in your body causes an imbalance of salt in the blood. This imbalance causes a cascade of effects that results in the desire for greater hydration, or thirst.
Essentially, thirst is a symptom of dehydration.
By the time you feel thirsty, you’re already pretty dehydrated,” Murray says Our thirst sensation only appears when we are already dehydrated by 1 or 2 percent, Murray says. By then dehydration is already setting in and starting to impact how our mind and body perform,” says Lawrence E. Armstrong is one of the leading scientists in the study, the director of the Human Performance Laboratory, and an expert on hydration with over 20 years of experience. Dehydration can have an impact on anyone, and it is just as important to stay hydrated for those who spend their day sitting at a computer as it is for marathon runners, who can lose up to 8 percent of their body weight in water during a race.
Kleiner says that if you feel thirsty, your body is dehydrated. Some other signs that you might be dehydrated are if you’re in a bad mood, if your eyes are dry, if you have a headache or feel dizzy, if your muscles are cramping, or if you have a fever or don’t sweat.
2. Check Your Urine Color for Tell-Tale Signs
The color of your urine is a good way to tell if you are hydrated. If your urine is a light color, you are probably drinking enough water. More severe dehydration may cause nausea, vomiting, lethargy, and fainting.” If you are mildly dehydrated, you may urinate more frequently and your urine may be dark yellow. If you are severely dehydrated, you may feel nauseous, vomit, or faint. You need to drink more water if your urine is darker than pale yellow or if you’re feeling thirsty.
It should look like lemonade.” Sears says that the color of your urine is the best way to tell if you’re hydrated. Urine should be a lemonade color. If the color is very pale, you are most likely hydrated. The darker your urine is, the more hydration you need.
3. Reach for Foods With High Water Content
Many of us don’t realize that the water we drink isn’t the only source of our water intake. The food we eat contributes a significant amount to our overall water intake. The part of the recommendation that said most of the 2.5 liters should come from food was not adapted, according to Kleiner.
Approximately 20% of the water we consume comes from the food we eat. Many vegetables and fruits are mostly water, which helps us to stay hydrated by contributing to our fluid intake. ” -All of the other drinks we consume contribute to our fluid intake, including milk, juice, beer, wine, coffee, tea, and soda. Keep in mind that other drinks besides water have calories.
How Dehydration Affects the Body
We now know how to avoid becoming dehydrated. But why should we care so much? Surprisingly, dehydration can have a significant impact on your mental and physical health. Here are a few key areas that will take a hit when you don’t sip enough:
Dehydration can cause skin to lose elasticity and become lesssupple, which may cause wrinkles to become more visible, saidKleiner. Your skin acts as a protective barrier against the elements, and staying hydrated helps it do its job.
” Sears states that one of the easiest ways to tell if someone is dehydrated is by the dryness and stiffness of their skin. Most of the water in our bodies is lost through the skin. If you are not hydrated, your skin will be dry and non-supple.
” Staying hydrated helps to keep our energy up by keeping our muscles working well. Plus, if you become dehydrated it can cause you to feel fatigued or have low energy, so it is important to drink enough fluids and stay hydrated to prevent that.
There is not much research to show how dehydration might affect sleep, but if you are having muscle cramps, headaches, or dizziness because you are dehydrated, chances are that you will not be able to sleep well. A study found that men experience fatigue, tension and anxiety when mildly dehydrated. We know that stress can have an impact on how much and how well we sleep.
In order for the brain to function optimally, neurons need to be hydrated, according to Sears. Removed from its natural habitat and dehydrated, a person can quickly become confused, dizzy, and have difficulty thinking clearly.
A study found that mild dehydration caused headaches, fatigue, and difficulty concentrating. When the female subjects were slightly dehydrated, they also perceived the tasks as more difficult. Drinking a glass of ice water instead of coffee before a meeting will help you to be more alert.
How Much Water Should You Drink a Day?
The study found that men should drink 3.7 liters of water a day, and women should drink 2.7 liters a day. The amount of water you should drink in a day can differ based on various factors such as where you live, the temperature, how active you are, and your age. The amount of water recommended above may not be enough for your body depending on various external factors.
According to Jennifer Stone, a physical therapist and clinical supervisor, there are two other basic formulas, displayed below, for determining how much water to drink per day, accounting for body weight and exercise.
Health Benefits of Drinking Water
Improves Physical Performance
The ability to do work and produce useful mechanical power. From a medical point of view, physical performance is a measure of the body’s ability to do work and produce useful mechanical power. This assessment not only looks at muscle strength, power, and endurance, but also takes into account input from other body organs and systems, including bones, balance, and various cardiovascular and neurologic aspects.
There is a lot of research on how being hydrated or not affects physical performance in various settings. This research has shown that dehydration or not enough hydration provokes functional changes in cardiovascular, metabolic, and central nervous systems resulting in the impairment of physical performance. The effects of this impairment can be seen in reduced endurance, increased fatigue, issues with regulating body temperature, reduced motivation, and increased perceived effort.
A study from the American College of Sports Medicine showed that losing as little as 2% of your body mass through dehydration can cause a decline in your physical performance. A different study found that cyclists who didn’t drink enough fluid had a performance impairment of 28.6%.
Since even a small amount of water loss can impact physical performance, it is important to drink water and stay hydrated during physical activity in order to maintain peak physical performance.
Improves Brain Function
Water improves brain functions such as concentration and memory. The human brain controls all activities of our bodies. Some examples of functions that can be impacted by brain injury include: -Cognitive functions such as learning and remembering -Motor functions -Vision -Essential life functions such as breathing, heart rate, and hunger
Adequate hydration is important for optimal brain function. Studies have found that mild to moderate dehydration can alter important aspects of cognitive function such as concentration, alertness, memory, perceptual discrimination, arithmetic ability, visuomotor tracking, and psychomotor skills. Drinking water is important for maintaining optimal brain function, especially in hot climates or when exercising.
A study at Peking University looked at what happened to 12 men who didn’t drink any water for 36 hours. The mood and cognitive function of the participants were tested before and after being awake for 36 hours. The average results are shown in the charts below. The researchers concluded that dehydration has a significant negative impact on energy levels, attention span, focus, and short-term memory.
Studies have evaluated the effects of hydration on arousal and cognitive performance in young people and school-aged children. The results of the studies showed that dehydration can lead to a decrease in cognitive performance and an increase in feelings of fatigue. Two studies – one of school-aged children and the other of young adults – found that hydration improved visual attention and increased self-reported arousal and alertness, respectively.
Helps for Kidney Stones
The urinary system is where urine is produced and stones are collections of mineral crystals that can cause discomfort. The most common types of stones are calcium, uric acid, struvite, and cystine. The most common type of kidney stone is one that originates in the kidneys themselves.
Kidney stones are formed when waste materials in the blood crystallize and accumulate inside the kidneys, which may build up over time to create a hard stone-like mass. Dehydration is one of the things that can make uric acid kidney stones more likely to form. If you’re likely to form uric acid stones, it’s best to drink more fluids.
increased fluid intake increases the amount of urine passing through the kidneys, which dilutes the concentration of minerals and makes them less likely to crystallize and form stones. The American Urological Association recommends that people who are susceptible to kidney stones should drink enough fluids to produce 2.5 liters of urine per day. This means that, on average, people consume around 3 liters (100 oz) of liquids every day.
Improves Immune System
The immune system is a complex collection of cells, tissues, and molecules that work together to help the body resist and fight infections. The different parts of the immune system work together to protect the body against foreign invaders, such as bacteria and viruses.
The circulatory system delivers nutrients and infection-fighting white blood cells throughout the body, and the lymphatic system removes toxins and foreign pathogens. Water is a key component for both the circulatory and lymphatic systems, as they are made up mostly of water. If we drink the recommended amount of water each day, it will help our immune system to work properly.
The study found that dehydration may lead to immunosuppression by decreasing neutrophil function. Neutrophils are a common type of white blood cell that helps the body Recognize and destroy foreign substances.