Adequate hydration is key to building a strong and healthy body.

By: Nketia Anthony (MPH. Health Education and Promotion, BSc. Herbal Medicine)

Pouring fresh mineral water from a bottle into a glass, hydration and diet concept

You might have heard or come across the quote, “Water is life, and clean water means health” coined by Audrey Hepburn. Certainly, Audrey Hepburn was right. Water is indeed life because all living organisms on earth need it for survival. Without water, there would be no life on earth.

Of course, as human beings, we need to be circumspect about the type of water we consume. Drinking contaminated water can cause diseases such diarrhoea, cholera, dysentery, typhoid, polio among others. Therefore, for a healthy life, we need to drink clean and portable water.

Water forms the largest constituent of the human body. Total body water averages at 60% of body weight. This amount of water is essential for ensuring the normal physiological function of the human body. Every cell, tissue, and organ in the human body needs water to work properly. For instance, water is needed to ensure thermoregulation, protect sensitive tissues, cushion joints and rid the body of waste through perspiration, urination, and bowel movement.

However, there is a continuous loss of water from our body as a result of lifestyle activities, physical exercises, and the hot environmental conditions in which we dwell. On average, a typical adult loses approximately 2.6 litres (L) of water each day. The water we lose from our body needs to be replenished constantly via water or fluid intake. The maintenance of a correct water balance (the net difference between water gain and water losses) is essential to good health.

When the body becomes deprived of water for long, it becomes dehydrated. Dehydration has a detrimental effect on the normal physiological functions of the body. Studies have indicated that dehydration increases both heart rate and body temperature as well as increases the physiologic strain. Even mild dehydration can drain a person’s energy and cause him or her to feel tired. A clinical study by Goulet and colleagues revealed that just a 1% loss of body water reduced the muscle strength, power, and endurance of older, healthy men.

The act of drinking water, consuming beverages and foods that contain water contributes to keeping the body hydrated at all times. A process that is vital for health and well-being. The amount of water consumption per day might vary from person to person. Ideally, the amount of water a person needs to consume is determinant on factors such as

  • A person’s diet.
  • A person’s activities.
  • A person’s place of stay.
  • A person’s health status.
  • Being pregnant or breastfeeding
  • The environment.
  • Temperature or season.  

That notwithstanding, it is recommended that adult men and women should respectively take about 3.7 litres (L) and 2.7 litres (L) of total water per day. It is worth noting that these values include water that originates from both consumed fluids and food. However, the contribution of food to total water intake represents about 20% in adults.

On this basis, it, therefore, means that male adults should take at least about 2 litres (L) of drinking water, and female adults should also take at least about 1.6 litres (L) of drinking water each day. Taking this amount of water each day should suffice for good health.

Take home

  • Water is essential for life.
  • The human body uses and loses water on a daily basis.
  • Adequate hydration is, therefore, necessary for the normal physiological function of the body.
  • Don’t wait to feel thirsty before you drink water. However, the moment you feel thirsty, drink water immediately.

**Always opt for a healthy lifestyle, you are the custodian of your own health and well-being**

References

Goulet, E.D., Mélançon, M.O., Lafrenière, D., Paquin, J., Maltais, M. and Morais, J.A., 2018. Impact of mild hypohydration on muscle endurance, power, and strength in healthy, active older men. The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research32(12), pp.3405-3415.

Healthline. 2020. How much water should you drink per day?. [Online]. Available at: https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/how-much-water-should-you-drink-per-day#how-much-you-need. Accessed on: 11/05/2021.

Hydration for Health. 2018. Everyday Hydration. [Online]. Available at: https://www.hydrationforhealth.com/en/why-hydration/everyday-hydration/. Accessed on: 10/05/2021.

Hydration for Health. 2018. Healthy hydration for physical activity. [Online]. Available at: https://www.hydrationforhealth.com/en/why-hydration/everyday-hydration/list-everyday-hydration/article-healthy-hydration-for-physical-activities/. Accessed on: 10/05/2021.

Hydration for Health. 2018. Water requirement for daily life. [Online]. Available at: https://www.hydrationforhealth.com/en/why-hydration/everyday-hydration/list-everyday-hydration/article-your-daily-water-requirements/. Accessed on: 10/05/2021.

Mayo Clinic. 2021. Water: How much should you drink every day?. [Online]. Available at: https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/water/art-20044256. Accessed on: 11/05/2021.

WHO. 2021. Drinking water. [Online]. Available at: https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/drinking-water Accessed on 10/05/2021.

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