In addition to exercise, it is important that your body gets enough water. Water is
necessary for our body to operate efficiently. Water is vital to the body in temperature
regulation, nerve impulse conduction, circulation, metabolism, immune system, eliminative
processes, sensory awareness and perceptive thinking.
Americans, on average, drink only eight ounces (one cup) of water per day. The rest of
the water the body needs must be extracted from other liquids or foods that we eat. Not
enough water is a real threat to the system. Many chemical reactions inside the body will
not occur without the right amount of water.
It only takes a one percent fluid loss in the body to become dehydrated. This generally
happens prior to any conscious sensation of being thirsty. Very small shortages of water
can dramatically change and disrupt biochemistry. Water is considered by exercise
physiologists as the single most important variable in peak performance. Your muscles can
lose up to ten percent of their contractile strength and eight percent of speed from only
a three percent dehydration.
A small change makes a big difference when it comes to water. If you do a lot of travel
by air, you can lose as much as two pounds of water in a three to four hour flight.
Stress, alcohol and caffeine all influence the amount of water and the speed in which your
body loses it. Any of these factors, alone or in combination, could cause a small but
critical shrinkage of the brain. This small shrinkage will impair neuromuscular
coordination, decrease concentration, and slow thinking.
The average amount of water loss per day is two cups through breathing, two cups
through invisible perspiration, and six cups through urination and bowel movements. That
is a total of ten cups lost per day without taking into account perspiration from exercise
or hard work, excessively dry air, or alcohol and caffeine consumption.
To maintain efficient operation, you want to drink the following: