Drink More Water!

Healthy Water Intake

The recent heat wave may have you thinking about your water intake and it may be the time to rethink your whole hydration philosophy.  It’s easy enough to think about hydration when you are in the sun;  but you really should consider how much water you drink all year round.

During winter months we are inside more, with heaters going, and we don’t have that natural thirst mechanism. Just because it is winter and it is cold and rainy, doesn’t mean you can’t get dehydrated!  So most of the patients I see ARE dehydrated.

Water is your body’s principal chemical component, comprising 60-70% of your weight. Every system in your body depends on water.  Even mild dehydration can sap your energy and make you tired.

Lack of water increases fibrosis and cross-linking in collagen, resulting in advanced wrinkling,  stiff and easily injured joints, and degeneration of joints and discs.

It also makes chiropractic adjustments more difficult, more painful, and less effective. 

Every day you lose water through your breath, perspiration, urine and bowel movements. For your body to function properly, you must replenish its water supply by consuming beverages and foods that contain water.

1) How Much?  The US National Research Council recommends 1 mL of water for every Calorie you eat.  So if you eat 2000 Calories you should be drinking 2000 mL (2 liters or 2.1 quarts).  My guideline is ½ oz of water for every pound of weight.  So for a 150 lb man or woman, you need 75 oz of water (over 2 quarts).

You may need to modify your total fluid intake depending on how active you are, the environment or weather you are in, your health status, and if you’re pregnant or breast-feeding.

  • Exercise. The more you exercise, the more fluid you’ll need to keep your body hydrated. An extra 1 or 2 cups of water should suffice for short bouts of exercise, but intense exercise lasting more than an hour (for example, running a marathon) requires additional fluid. During long bouts of intense exercise, it’s best to use a sports drink that contains sodium and electrolytes to help replace sodium lost in sweat. Fluid also should be replaced after exercise.
  • Environment. Hot or humid weather can make you sweat and requires additional intake of fluid. Heated indoor air also can cause your skin to lose moisture during wintertime. Further, high altitudes may trigger increased urination and more rapid breathing, which use up more of your fluid reserves.
  • Illnesses or health conditions. Fever, vomiting and diarrhea cause your body to lose additional fluids. In these cases you should drink more water and may even need oral rehydration solutions, such as Gatorade.  Certain conditions such as heart failure and some types of kidney, liver and adrenal diseases may impair excretion of water and even require that you limit your fluid intake.
  • Pregnancy or breast-feeding. Women who are expecting or breast-feeding need additional fluids to stay hydrated. Large amounts of fluid are lost especially when nursing.  It is recommended that pregnant women drink 2.4 liters (about 10 cups) of fluids daily and women who breast-feed 3.0 liters (about 12.5 cups).

2) Don’t wait until you are thirsty!   It’s generally not a good idea to use thirst alone as a guide for when to drink. By the time you becomes thirsty, it is possible to be already dehydrated.  Be aware that as you get older your body is less able to sense dehydration and send your brain signals of thirst.

3) Avoid drinking at night! Don’t try to catch up for not drinking during the day by drinking too much in the evening.  Avoid drinking 2 hours before bedtime.  Unless you LIKE waking up in the middle of the night!

4) Water filters, spring water, bottled waterIf you drink water from a bottle, thoroughly clean or replace the bottle often. Refill only bottles that are designed for reuse.  In general spring water from a tested source is best, then filtered water.  Don’t drink distilled water.

5) Drink Warm or Room Temperature Water  You wouldn’t put ice water in a baby’s water bottle, a pet dish or a house plant would you?  Then avoid it for yourself too.  Traditional Chinese Medicine declares that cold drinks “shock” the body and blocks the normal flow of energy.

6) Can You Drink Too Much?  Though rare, it is possible to drink too much water. When your kidneys are unable to excrete the excess water, the electrolyte content of the blood is diluted, resulting in a condition called hyponatremia.   Endurance athletes such as marathon runners who drink large amounts of water are at higher risk of hyponatremia.  In general, though, drinking too much water is rare in healthy adults who consume an average American diet.

If you’re concerned about your fluid intake, check with your doctor.  He or she can help you determine the amount of water that’s best for you.

4 Comments

  1. Wow! The guy who writes these blogs is really, really smart! Too bad I seem to be the only onwe reading his stuff!

  2. Josh McKenney

    Just had a glass of water (more than two hours before bedtime) thanks to this. Having some serious chiro issues and will be emailing or calling tomorrow to discuss.

  3. Excellent information once again! Thumbs up!

  4. Nice entry. I will come back more frequently.

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