Health experts have been pushing water for decades, claiming the average person doesn’t get enough. They portray Americans as dehydrated zombies, dragging themselves through the day. Seems like an exaggeration, but the reality is that they just might be correct. We’re told we should consume 6-8 eight ounce glasses of water on a daily basis. That sure seems like a lot. Knowing how our bodies use water and how dehydration can affect us might be just what we need to get us motivated to drink more every day.

Why your body needs water

Depending on your age, gender, weight, and level of fitness, most adult bodies are between 50-70% water. That means that half or even more than half of our bodies are water. Sounds fishy right? Well, a big portion of that H2O is in our cells. It is the primary building block of cells. Water lubricates our joints and insulates our brains, spinal cord and organs acting as a shock absorber. It aids in metabolizing food being the primary component of saliva and flushes out bodily wastes. And water acts as an insulator, regulating our internal body temperature. Wow, that’s a lot of important jobs!

How can you tell if your body is dehydrated?

With water being so essential to so many bodily functions, we have built in warning signals when we are running low. Thirst would seem to be the first indication that water is needed. Interestingly enough, we don’t become thirsty until we have lost about 2-3% of our bodies water. Mental performance and physical coordination start to be impaired first, after only 1% water loss. Here are some symptoms to watch out for if you are concerned you might be dehydrated…

  • Dry mouth, skin or eyes: These organs are your fist indication that water is needed.
  • Dark urine or constipation: Urine should be very light yellow or almost clear. Dark urine or constipation is a sure sign you need to drink more H2O.
  • Fatigue or dizziness: These symptoms can, of course, have other causes, but drinking water as the first line of defense just might work. If dizziness is severe, continues or confusion sets in, seek medical attention.

Water for life

Keeping your body hydrated is as important as eating right and taking care of your dental health. With so many important functions, a sufficient amount of water intake is essential. Sip during work, guzzle after a workout and pay attention to the warning signs you need more. Your body and your health will thank you.