The Perspective
   
SUMMER 2013

Water and Your Body

Water. Acqua. Agua. Eau. Maji. Tubig. Wasser. H2O. However you say it . . . water is the building block of life. NASA is even looking for it on Mars. It’s like a magic elixir. So much so that you can die in about three to five days without it.

The Water in Your Body Graphic

Water makes up about two-thirds of your body . . . that’s most of your body! It makes up large portions of your brain, your blood, your lungs, even your bones.

The function of water in your body is the key to keeping you healthy and mobile. Water helps maintain a normal body temperature, lubricates your spinal cord and other tissues, cushions your joints, aids in digestion, and eliminates waste through urination and perspiration.

It also boosts your energy by helping your heart pump blood more efficiently and effectively; helps your blood move oxygen through your body and transports nutrients to your cells.

So how much water do you need and where do you get it?

The answers vary depending on your body, your activity level, the weather, the climate, and your health. Here in the desert, we need more water because it is so dry and hot.

In the summer, desert dwellers must pay particular attention to how much water they drink and how they feel, especially people who work or exercise outdoors.

When exerting yourself in hot temperatures, remember to:

  • Drink plenty of water at regular intervals, regardless of your activity level. If you’re intensely exercising, drink two to four glasses of water or cool fluids each hour.
  • Limit alcoholic beverages because they are dehydrating.
  • Replace some of the salt and minerals your body loses through sweat by drinking fruit juices or sports drinks.
  • Drink water before, during and after exercising.
  • Plan well-balanced light meals because hot or heavy meals can increase your body temperature.

Increasing Your Water Intake

Some tips to increase your water intake include carrying a water bottle when you’re out running errands or at the office, and keeping a glass of water near your bedside. Fill freezer-safe bottles and take one with you so you can have ice-cold water all day. Opt for water instead of sodas or caffeinated drinks, which can be dehydrating.

Consider that about 20 percent of your water intake is from food. To maximize this benefit, choose fruits and vegetables with high water content like melons, tomatoes and leafy green vegetables. You even get water from broth soups, milk and juices.

Regularly drinking water even before feeling thirsty is a good practice since you are already slightly dehydrated by the time you feel thirsty.

If water weren’t so important NASA wouldn’t be searching for it as proof that life could be sustained on other planets – so drink up and stay healthy and hydrated!

To determine the amount of water your body needs, try using a Hydration Needs Calculator, like the one on www.weather.com.

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