Whenever a girl comes to me for advice, one of the first questions I ask is, "How much water do you drink every day?"
Unfortunately, in the vast majority of cases I've noticed that the amount of water consumed every day is less than it should be, especially in women.
Suffice to say that, on average, the human body is composed of approximately 60% water; this value increases or decreases depending on body composition, age and lifestyle. Those with more muscle mass will have a higher percentage of water than those with more fat since muscles are composed of 75% water.
It goes without saying that if we don't give our body an adequate dose of liquids it will never be able work properly! It's like expecting to drive a car at full speed without putting any petrol in the tank.
Why is it important to drink?
Let's look more specifically at the seven reasons why it is so important to hydrate properly:
- To encourage elimination of the body's waste matter, through urine and sweat.
- To help muscle development (attention women! I don't mean "become muscle-bound" but to get the sort of muscle tone we so dream of). Water actually counteracts the catabolic effects of cortisol which tends to break down muscle tissue to produce energy.
- To firm and shape tissues (including epithelial tissue) thus being beneficial from an aesthetic point of view.
- To keep the mucous membranes and the surfaces of the nose, eyes, mouth and ears sufficiently moist.
- To encourage the proper lubrication of the joints.
- To counteract water retention. Water retention is just a build-up of water. It happens because when the body isn't provided with enough water on a daily basis it holds on to it and so causes water retention which, if it worsens, will eventually actually become cellulite.
- To improve the regularity of the bowels: drinking a glass of warm water on an empty stomach as soon as you get upin the morning helps you to empty your bowels.
How much water do we need to drink?
In general, I recommend drinking about two litres a day, increasing up to three litres in summer or when exercising.
It is important to keep yourself adequately hydrated during training by consuming approximately 500/600 ml of water and, if necessary, by also adding mineral salts (see PureMINERAL + SUSTAMINE® by YAMAMOTO® NUTRITION or Iso Sport by IAFSTORE) in order to maintain your electrolyte balance and recover the fluids lost through increased body temperature and sweating.
If you find it difficult to drink the correct amount of water, try the following technique.
This allows you to consume approximately two litres of water without too much effort: one glass in the morning with breakfast, two glasses at lunchtime, two glasses with the evening meal and a half-litre bottle to be consumed during the day. If you do this, drinking enough will be child's play!
How to know if we are sufficiently hydrated
There are two parameters which tell us whether we're drinking enough:
- The first is the sense of "thirst": when we feel parched, and therefore feel the need to drink, it means that we are already dehydrated. Ideally, therefore, we should never feel thirsty.
- The second is urine: the darker/more greenish its colour, the less water it contains. The urine should always be light yellow in colour, transparent and odourless.
Dehydration, even if modest, is dangerous for the body.
A 7% decrease in total body water is sufficient to endanger an individual's very survival.
In a dehydrated organism sweating is prevented, so as to save the little water left in the body, and this causes an increase in the internal temperature.
In addition, the blood doesn't circulate properly in the vessels and this leads to the risk of cardiac fatigue and circulatory collapse.
And let's not forget the aesthetic aspect of water retention which we mentioned above.
Water is our most precious asset; it's the source of life and it keeps us healthy. Let's not forget it. Let's take care of our thirst!