Water is the main chemical component of your body, making up 75 percent of your muscle tissue and 10 percent of your fatty tissue. The conventional recommendation is to consume eight cups of water each day, but factoring in your current health, fitness level and daily activities can give you a better understanding of how much fluid your body needs.
Every working system in your body depends on water to maintain proper function. Water carries nutrients to your cells and provides a moist environment for ear, nose and throat tissues. It flushes out toxins and prevents and alleviates constipation by moving food through your intestinal tract. When you are properly hydrated, water can improve the look and feel of your skin.
Recommended Intake according to sportsmedicine.com
Every day you lose water through natural processes such as breathing, perspiration and urine and bowel movements. The average daily urine output for adults is 1.5 l. You lose another liter each day through breathing, sweating and bowel movements. Your food intake accounts for about 20 percent of your total fluid intake. If you consume 2 l of water per day along with a normal, healthy diet, you will replace the fluids lost.
How much water to drink if you are exercising
If you are physically active, you need to consume more water than the general population to avoid excessive water loss. In one hour of exercise your body can lose more than a quart of water, depending on your intensity level and environment. The American Council on Exercise recommends drinking 17 to 20 oz. (about 0,5 litres) of water two hours prior to exercise. Every 10 to 20 minutes during exercise you should drink 7 to 10 oz (0,2 to 0,3 litres). Drink 16 to 24 oz (0,5 to 0,7 litres) of water for every pound of body weight you lose as a result of exercise.
Can You Drink too much water?
According to a survey by Loyal University researchers, over 36 percent of runners drink according to a preset schedule or to maintain a certain body weight. Another 9 percent drink as much as they can during races. These runners are choosing to ignore their body’s thirst mechanism and instead use other methods to dictate their water consumption, which they believe, mistakenly, to be superior.
Many buy into this belief, and health agencies and sports drinks advertisers have been spouting the misinformation for years. But as the Loyola researchers noted:
“These beliefs are frequently based on misconceptions about basic exercise physiology.”
Overhydrating will actually worsen athletic performance, not improve it. As you begin to consume too much water, your cells will start to swell, leading to such symptoms as gastrointestinal upset, dizziness, soreness and others. In severe cases, the sodium levels in your blood may drop to dangerously low levels, causing hyponatremia — a condition in which your cells swell with too much water. While most of your body’s cells can handle this swelling, your brain cells cannot, and most of the symptoms are caused by brain swelling.
This condition is most common among athletes, although anyone can be affected by drinking excessive amounts of water. Dr. Noakes explained:
“The brain swells, and because it is in a rigid skull, it cannot swell very much. The more it swells, the more pressure, and that eventually squeezes the arteries supplying blood to the brain. Ultimately, there is less oxygen getting to the brain, and certain parts become damaged. Once it affects your breathing centers, then you’re in real trouble, because it stops breathing, and that is essentially irreversible.”