You know that staying hydrated is important, but you may not understand just how crucial water is to your body. Water plays an important role in your body, making it a critical nutrient to consume so your body functions properly.
Your body parts are made up mostly of water: Your brain is 95% water, your blood 82%, and your lungs nearly 90%. Being hydrated and the balance of water and electrolytes in the body determines how most of the systems function, such as nerves and muscles. So when you don’t consume enough water, your body is drastically affected and can’t perform the way that it should.
Read on to learn more about how important staying hydrated is to your health.
How Much Water Do You Need?
While the amount of water that should be consumed is different for everyone based on their body type, the climate, and activity level, it’s suggested that the average person drink a minimum of eight to 12 cups of water per day. Most people lose about four cups of water per hour of exercise, and this amount increases when exercising in warm temperatures. Be sure to drink water before, during, and immediately following your workout and replenish the amount of water you lose in the hours after.
Signs of Dehydration
When your body goes too long without enough water, it begins to shut down. It’s important to pay attention to the signs that your body gives you when you’re dehydrated so you address the problem before it becomes serious. Symptoms of dehydration include the following:
- Dry mouth
- Dizziness or feeling lightheaded
- Lack of sweating
- Hard, fast heartbeat
- Muscle cramps
- Nausea or vomiting
More severe symptoms include weakness, loss of consciousness, and confusion. If you’re dealing with any of these symptoms, seek emergency medical attention immediately.
The best way to stay hydrated is drinking plenty of water. However, some people find that sports drinks are beneficial after exercising at a high intensity for a long time. Sports drinks contain calories, potassium, and other nutrients that replenish the energy and electrolytes you lose when exercising.
Tips for drinking more water include the following:
- Drink at least 8 oz of water for each hour you’re awake.
- Drink from a wide-mouth container that’s easy to refill.
- Always have a water bottle with you.
- Drink more water after you’ve consumed caffeine.
Whether you’re an athlete participating in high-intensity sports or you exercise minimally, staying hydrated is crucial to your health. You need plenty of water to survive and for your body to operate normally. Be sure to keep this information in mind and use the helpful tips above so you consume enough water each day.
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