By now in life, this should almost go without saying: Drink water. Common sense, right? It’s the most essential nutrient. It’s the basis of all life, and what allows organisms on any level to thrive. It’s even what NASA sent the Mars Phoenix Lander to find. And what did it find? Little green men of course.
So, what to do about your water intake?
We often hear that the general rule is 8 glasses of water a day. But recently I have been told that people should consume, at the minimum, one ounce per pound of bodyweight. So if you weigh 100 pounds, then 100 ounces is your goal each day. In this example, that ends up at about 12 8oz glasses per day. However, humans sometimes need to drink more to account for any workouts or sweating each day (think hot, summer days).
I have also heard that your body can absorb water though different mediums more efficiently than just plain liquid H2O at times. Juice, coffee, tea, even carbonated drinks… however we know that too much of any of those can create other issues and dehydration itself.
Finally, some sources weigh in that when you drink one glass of coffee, tea, or soda then you need two additional glasses of water to account for the caffeine intake or the carbonation.
Confusing? I thought so.
Let’s check the (somewhat inconsistent) recommendations:
Mayo Clinic: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/water/NU00283
“Water is your body’s principal chemical component and makes up about 60 percent of your body weight. Every system in your body depends on water. For example, water flushes toxins out of vital organs, carries nutrients to your cells and provides a moist environment for ear, nose and throat tissues. Lack of water can lead to dehydration, a condition that occurs when you don’t have enough water in your body to carry out normal functions. Even mild dehydration can drain your energy and make you tired.”
Whole 9: http://whole9life.com/2010/08/replenishment-drinks
“Unless you’re doing long, nonstop competitions like triathlons or marathons (where you certainly need to rehydrate during the event), there’s simply no justification for substituting a supplement for real food and water. Trust us on this – you do not need to provide electrolytes to your body during a typical CrossFit workout. Shoot, during a high intensity ‘Fran’ or ‘Grace,’ you don’t need to stop to provide water to your body.”
Mark’s Daily Apple: http://www.marksdailyapple.com/8-glasses-of-water-a-day/#axzz1ySXrOdR5
“Contrary to what your neighbor might advise you, there is no evidence that drinking eight or more glasses prevents constipation, kidney stones, bladder cancer, urinary tract infections or that it guarantees you’ll have clear skin and a toxic-free liver.”
So, what sense to make of the hydration issue?
Drink water. Drink when you’re thirsty. And drink before and after your workouts. Over-hydrating will not produce any benefits, just as that drained, dehydrated feeling will cause negative performance issues and more importantly increase the dreaded fatigue some of us feel throughout the day. (Causing us to reach for more caffeine.) Just make sure to check your water source.
Nothing groundbreaking here, it seems. But at least we find out that in general we’re on the right track in regards to hydration. And if for some reason you weren’t, get your act together and you’ll see a difference.