Is it true that everyone needs to drink eight 8-oz. glasses of water daily? Actually, that’s a popular misconception. Some people are more active and need more water. Some need less. Your body is designed to let you know – despite all the advice you see from “experts” thirst is still your best guide for how much water to drink daily. With that said, many of us do not drink enough water to stay hydrated.
Healthy bodies contain 10-12 gallons of water, which is 50-70 percent of our body weight. Blood is 85 percent water; muscles average about 80 percent water, and the brain has 75 percent water. Even our bones are 25 percent water.
Besides its contributions to circulation and detoxification, water plays many key roles in the body, including helping proteins to fold (from amino acid chains into their functional structures), helping to make enzymes (the catalysts for all biochemical reactions), and helping our cells respond to environmental stimuli. Without enough H2O, none of these systems can be healthy. Low water intake increases risk for kidney stones, bladder and colon cancers, and other health issues.
So, how much water is enough to drink? Again, let thirst be your guide. Contrary to popular myth, you won’t become dehydrated before your thirst mechanism kicks in. Some people, however confuse thirst for hunger, so beware that urge to start snacking. Try a nice cold glass of water instead. In fact, drinking a big glass of water first thing in the morning to “open” the sense of thirst. Also water with lemon is excellent. And also hot water with lemon is great in the morning, especially for your digestion system.
Whether your skiing in Colorado, mountain biking in Utah, trekking in Nepal or hiking through Denali National Park, you need to drink a lot of water at high altitude compared to what you would normally drink at lower levels. Drinking too little water can quickly lead to dehydration at altitudes above 5,000 feet. Humidity is lower at higher altitudes. Sweat evaporates quickly and you may not realize how much water you are losing through exertion.
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