More than half of your body weight is made up of water. Each cell in your body has to have water in order for it to function correctly. Water is essential for your body to remain healthy, and be able to function as it was designed to function.
What happens if I do not stay properly hydrated?
If you do not stay properly hydrated then your body cannot work as it is designed to work. Different things within your body will overheat and begin to shut down to conserve water. You can even die from improper hydration. The following signals are sent out by the body to remind you that you need to hydrate:
• Confusion or disorientation
• Dizziness or the feeling of being lightheaded
• A dry mouth
• Headache
• Extreme thirst
• Sleepiness
• Fatigue
• Muscle cramps
• Reduced urine output
• Dark urine that may have a foul odor
• Lack of tears
How often should I drink to stay hydrated for physical fitness?
By the time that you feel thirsty your body is already in the beginning stages of dehydration. You need to get in the habit of drinking regularly so you do not experience any dehydration symptoms.
Each person needs to consume between six and eight glasses of water each day. Those glasses need to be eight ounce glasses. This is just a guideline because there are people who can function normally with slightly less water intake and there are people who need more than eight glasses per day. People who perspire profusely normally have to have more fluid than people who never seem to sweat.
People with certain health conditions are more prone to dehydration than other people are. As you age your risk of dehydration increases.
The best rule of thumb is to have a drink of water every hour or two throughout the course of a day. If you place a cup in your bathroom you can get a drink of water every time you go to the restroom.
Do I have to drink water to stay hydrated for physical fitness?
Many people do not like to drink water. Water is the best liquid for your body, but there are other foods and drinks that can help you to maintain the proper hydration levels.
• Low sugar fruit juices
• Herbal teas
• Vegetable juices
• Coffee as long as your daily caffeine intake is less than 300 milligrams
• Sports drinks that are low in sugar and sodium. Be careful with sports drinks because you can be taking it a lot more sugar than you need, and you may have a false sense of hydration security because you are drinking, but your body may still be starving for water.

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