The sun is out, the temperature is rising, the bunnies are hopping, and the birds are chirping! That means spring is in session and warm weather is here! But what does that mean for you and your health and wellness? That means the importance of drinking water each and every day is more crucial. Water, simply put, is the most important thing you can put in your body. We have all been told for years that it is vital to drink plenty of water and stay hydrated. What exactly does this mean? Why is hydration status so important to our health, and how does water benefit our body? Water is 0 calories. It contains no sugar, no sodium, and no vitamins. So you must be thinking, well what does it contain, and how can it be the most important thing to put in my body?
Scientifically, water is referred to as H2O and contains two hydrogen molecules and one oxygen molecule. Both hydrogen and oxygen are classified as minerals and are found in the air we breathe. The adult male human is made up of about 60% water, infants are roughly 75% water, so it’s vastly important that we continuously replace the water we lose every day. The first thing that most likely comes to mind when thinking about water loss, is when you have to go to the bathroom. While the human body does lose the greatest amount of water during urination, there is also loss of water during breathing, sweating, and during the loss of feces.
Since people generally decide to spend more time outdoors during the warmer months, they tend to sweat more which decreases their hydration status. Much like body temperature and weight, the human body likes to keep everything in balance. This internal balance is called homeostasis. Basically the body prefers that water leaving should equal the amount that is coming in. So when people are tending to their garden, playing catch, or sun bathing, they tend to sweat more (loss of water), so naturally we need to increase our water consumption to replace what we have lost.
Now all of this sounds logical so far, but you are likely still asking yourself, why does the body need water, and why is it so important? The human body uses water in so many different ways, it simply couldn’t function properly without it. It is used to create saliva and transport nutrients throughout the body (digestion). It is used to help maintain a healthy body temperature. It acts as a shock absorber for the spinal cord and brain. It flushes out waste with the help of the kidneys via urination. Urination color is the best and easiest way to check hydration status. Urine should be a light pale yellow color. Dark urine would indicate a decreased hydration status therefore, an increase in water consumption would be needed. Water also lubricates joints for movement. It allows for the brain to create hormones and neurotransmitters. It even helps to deliver oxygen to the entire body.
Some suggestions to improve the taste of water to help increase the consumption of water, are to use your favorite decorative cup, slice fresh fruit to add flavor to your water, or use sugar-free Mio or other flavor enhancers. So as you can see water is vital to human life! A person will survive much longer in the absence of food rather than in the absence of water. It is the cause of all living things to be alive! Regardless of how you enjoy this beautiful weather, make sure to keep some water close by and stay hydrated!