Water! We cook with it. We bathe in it. We swim in it. It has the power to hold mighty ships in the great big sea. Oh, and of course, we drink it! Or at least we should be. 8 cups a day, right? Maybe.
Let’s start with a few fluid facts. Did you know?
- Water covers approximately 70% of the Earth’s surface but only about 1% is drinkable.
- It’s comprised of 2 hydrogen molecules covalently bonded with 1 oxygen molecule (H2O).
- It’s absolutely vital for all life including plants, animals, and mammals (that’s us).
- Our bodies consist of 50 – 70% water.
- Humans can survive no longer than a week without it.
- We need it to regulate our internal body temperature (we sweat to cool down).
- It transports nutrients to our cells, like the macronutrients (carbs, fats & proteins) found in your yummy bowl of oatmeal this morning.
- It expels waste products from our body, like the fiber from that same yummy bowl of oatmeal you ate this morning.
- It regulates blood pressure by keeping electrolytes and blood volume in balance, thus reducing the pressure on your arteries.
Now that we know why we need to drink water and the influence it has on our survival; that brings us to the question of, who really is cooler?
Just kidding. I mean, how much?
According to Health Canada, the Adequate Intake for Men is 3.7 liters in total, with 20% of that coming from the food they eat. So that leaves them with a drinkable value of 12.5 cups/day. Women require 2.7 liters in total, 20% from food with a drinkable value of 8.5 cups/day.
With that being said, there’s an easy rule you can follow to determine your daily requirement: Drink half of your body weight in ounces.
For a 180 lb. man, that would be 90 oz. or a solid 11 cups (8 oz. = 1 cup). As you can see, this is a little lower than the above requirements so feel free to add 1 cup to whatever value you calculate. Keep in mind; though we’re talking about water in general, as this of course is the absolute best way to stay hydrated, a cup or two of java or your favorite herbal tea also counts toward your daily tally.
To my fitness friends reading this, not only is the amount of fluid you drink essential but as is the timing. The American Council on Exercise recommends the following:
- In the 2-3 hours before a workout, it’s best to drink a good 2-2.5 cups of water and another cup a half hour before.
- While exercising, drink a solid cup of water for every 20 minutes of work. That’s a total of 3 cups for a 60 minute session (most water bottles hold 24 oz. or 3 cups).
- In the 30 minutes following a workout, it’s best to drink 1 more cup of water OR (because the harder we work, the more we sweat, the more we need to replenish) if you have a scale nearby, for every pound of body weight lost during exercise drink 2-3 cups of water.
I know, I know. It seems like a lot. However, we should truly be thankful to have such an amazing resource and vital nutrient, literally at our fingertips. If you’re concerned about your increased trips to the ol’ lavatory, well that soon will diminish. An article written by Harvard Medical School indicates that we have the ability to train our bladders with time, so be patient.
Speaking of urination, you ever sneak a peak in the can afterward? Well you should! Color is a great indicator of how well you’re hydrated. Light yellow or clear, you’re good dear. Dark yellow, aw hell no.