Hydration: Why You Should Stay Hydrated, and How To Do It
Water is a pretty important part of life. You need water in order to survive, and that goes for every known example of life on the planet. The reason isn’t simply explained, and we’re still not 100 percent sure why water is so necessary, but the general rule seems to be this: water is a solvent, and a carrier, of all the basic components of life.
Why You Need Water: The Basics
Nitrogen, carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen — and sulfur and phosphorus for some less mammalian lifeforms. These are the six elements on the periodic table that most lifeforms on Earth need to survive. There are at least another dozen that are also essential, such as calcium and iron, but not to all living beings. In your day to day life, the very basis of your existence is the movement of chemicals from one place in your body to another. Whether it’s energy, sugar, iron, vitamins, amino acids, hormones or any other biochemical component, in order for it to actually get anywhere, you need water.
Ultimately, it ends up being used to transport the end product of every major bodily function: your waste. Sweat, urine, feces — take your pick, they all need water to pass through you. And when they do, you need to replenish your stores. And oh boy, if you don’t, the consequences are dire. You need only be about 2 percent dehydrated — that means 98 percent hydrated — to begin losing efficiency and speed in some of your body’s functions.
That sounds like a lot, right? But then you have to take into consideration that water weight is practically 80 percent of your current weight — and if you take that and try to calculate for 1 percent, that’s a significant amount of water. Without just the right amount of water, you face energy production problems, enzyme function problems — you’ll be more prone to feeling tired or just blacking out during a hard workout. But you have to sweat quite a bit to get that far. Otherwise, however, drinking water throughout the day is important. That much, as per Breaking Muscle, is absolutely sure. But the real question is: just how much water do you really need?
How Much Do We Need
Like calories or air, how much you need depends on you and what you do on a day-to-day basis. Basically, the more exercise you do, the more you drink. On average, a person can follow the 8×8 rule, which means drinking 8 ounces of water 8 times a day, or 64 ounces of water a day in total. For us sane people, that’s roughly 2 liters, or 1.9 liters more precisely.
You’ll need more if you sweat a lot, either due to climate or exercise. A good rule for me personally is to do my best to drink about a liter in the morning, a liter in the afternoon, and another liter after my workout later in the evening. Another good indicator is your urine. While perfectly clear urine is typically a bad sign — you’re drinking too much — slightly yellow pee should be what you’re aiming for. Unless you ate something particularly discoloring, and your pee is a strong yellow color or darker, you’re probably in need of more water.
Keeping Track of Your Hydration
Below are a few apps you can use to keep track of your drinking habits, and make sure you’re drinking enough on a daily basis. Or, you can be slightly more old-fashioned like me, and use a pen to write it down.