It’s hardly a little-known fact that water is important for us. From a young age, we are told of the need to regularly drink water each and every day as the human body is made up mostly of water. However, few people genuinely understand the role that water plays in our bodies and why it is actually so important.
The importance of water and the role it plays
Well, first off, water is a vital substance in keeping the cells in the human body active and healthy. It feeds the cells with oxygen, nutrients and minerals, allowing them to function correctly each and every day. The human body can only run if it has a constant source of water, as it plays a vital role in helping to encourage metabolic processes. It also assists in the process of clearing toxic substances from the system.
If not properly removed, these toxic substances can lead to serious illness and even death. Finally, water is used to help the human body maintain a healthy and steady temperature at around 37°C. Failing to drink enough water can easily cause your body temperature to change by even just one or two degrees. These slight variations can have a major impact on health.
Some interesting statistics about water:
- On average, the human body is 60% water, however, this varies greatly depending on age and gender
- Children can have average water levels of anywhere between 60 and 75%
- Adult women range from 50 to 55% while adult men have a water proportion of roughly 60 to 65% (1)
- Human lungs are roughly 83% water, the heart 73% and skin 64%.
- Even bones have significant water content, coming in at around 34% (2).
How much water is enough?
A number of studies have taken place into how many Australians are actually drinking the correct amount of water every day. Though results vary, it is generally believed that the majority of people fail to consume a suitable amount every day. In fact, some studies have found that fewer than 30% of adult Australians are actually drinking enough water to sustain a truly healthy lifestyle (3).
But this begs the question, what is the right amount of water to consume every day?
Again, there is no exact answer, as the amount can vary depending on a whole host of different factors. This includes the following:
- How old the person is
- How active they are
- How hot the local climate is
- How much they weigh
- What gender they are
You get the idea. There is no one rule fits all amount of water you should consume each day. Instead, it is down to each individual to look at their daily routine and decide how much they should be drinking. Many people working a typical 9-5 think they are drinking enough simply because they aren’t overly active and aren’t really ever that thirsty. Though it is true that athletes or those with physically demanding jobs require more water, even people who live a largely sedentary lifestyle still need to stay hydrated.
In fact, drinking large amounts of water every day can lead to a whole host of health benefits. This includes:
- Higher cognitive ability
- Higher levels of concentration
- Better memory recall
- Stronger coordination
- Higher energy levels
- Assistance with weight loss
- Better skin health
- A stronger immune system
- A better mood
Really, the health benefits of water are almost endless, and this is simply because it is such a large part of who we are. If you’d like to find out more on the health benefits of water and to read up on the sources of the information, here is a useful article.
How to ensure you’re drinking enough water
By failing to drink enough water, you open your body up to dehydration. Depending on how long you remain dehydrated for, your health can become increasingly poor. Your body will not have access to all of the necessary vitamins and minerals it requires. This can leave you feeling sluggish, tired and generally in poor health. You should be wary as dehydration can further exacerbate the problem of water loss in the body.
You will find that you lose roughly three litres a day through urination, sweating and breathing. But being dehydrated can add up to another litre to this daily loss of water. This occurs after your body water level falls by as little as just 0.5%. If you let the problem persist and reach a water deficit of 3%, then your symptoms will become considerably worse.
Sufferers have experienced things like dry mouth, reduced ability to create saliva, painful headaches, higher body temperature, extreme fatigue and even collapse. Here are some steps you should take to ensure you maintain a healthy level of hydration.
- Make sure you drink between 1.5 to 2 litres of water every day. Break this up into six to eight smaller servings taken consistently all day.
- If you are performing any sort of physical exercise, such as hitting the gym, increase this water intake accordingly.
- Try to limit your intake of sugary substances and artificial energy sources like caffeine. These are often taken to offset the symptoms of dehydration and can actually worsen your water deficit.
- Consider setting alarms and other reminders to drink enough mineral water. Over time you can develop rituals and habits to ensure you are getting enough.