Most people do not drink enough water. Since 60% of healthy bodyweight is water, we need to consume a lot of it every day for optimal health. In fact, water is the second most import element to remaining alive. The first is air and the third is food. We can only live for a couple of minutes at most without air, a few days without water, and a few weeks without food.

When you are thirsty it is already ‘too late’. Not to sound overly dramatic, but to put it in a different way, when you are thirsty, your body is telling you that you are dehydrated and need to consume water as soon as possible.

Water makes so much happen in your body. In fact, it’s your most important nutrient. It has a cleansing effect: it helps dissolve vitamins, minerals, amino acids and glucose (sugar) for the body to use; it helps with digestion; it regulates body temperature; helps to burn body fat as fuel; flushes toxins from the body and it lubricates your joints and organs.

Water is best consumed as water! When I ask clients how much water they consume in a day they may list water, coffee, tea, pop and juice. It’s important to understand that since juice or other beverages are water-based, the body needs to break down the various contents before everything can be properly absorbed, e.g. the fibre of fruit in whole juices. Coffee has the adverse effect of being a diuretic, meaning it forces water through you more quickly and it leeches out certain nutrients from the body. So for every coffee you drink, also consume one glass (1 cup) of water. The same applies to alcohol: for every alcoholic beverage (a 6 oz. glass of wine, regular bottle of beer or 1 oz. of alcohol) you will treat your body well by drinking a full glass of water.

Drink the cleanest and most pure form you can get. If you are buying bottled spring water, check the label to verify that it contains no more than 100 ppm (parts per million) of minerals, etc. From what I have researched, tap water is one of the ‘safest’ and cleanest forms of water. You may choose to filter your tap water with an inexpensive carbon-filter type system (which mostly improves taste) or at a higher investment with a reverse osmosis purification system.

Cell hydration, through drinking adequate quantities of water, is also important for muscle growth and strength.

If you are working out or training for a sport your body may need much more water than someone who is more sedentary.

Drinking lots of water will also assist as an effective appetite suppressant if you are eating to reduce body fat. When on a low calorie eating plan, water can satisfy hunger. To help in this process, sip your water to suppress the pain of hunger, rather than drinking it all at once.

Being dehydrated can also promote an increase of body fat. Water contributes to energy storage along with glycogen and can enhance the burning of fat as energy. Without water, extra amounts of glucose (sugar) remain in the bloodstream until reaching the liver where the extra glucose is stored as fat. If you are dehydrated, your body will take water from various cells in your body, including fat cells, and from the liver and kidneys. Without sufficient water, the cells and organs can’t function properly and the body will ultimately burn less body fat as a fuel source.

If you have hypertension, high cholesterol or heart disease, you will definitely want to be conscious of your water consumption. If you are not drinking enough water, the body may pull water from your blood, resulting in the closing of some smaller blood vessels, making your blood thicker, more susceptible to clotting, and harder to pump through your body.

The conclusion? Love your water and drink it often!

Be well.

© 2011 Darren Stehle & Integrated Fitness. All Rights Reserved.

Author's Bio: 

No theories or trends; just a hands-on, Integrated Fitness approach that works.

Darren's approach is truly unique in fitness and health coaching. His work involves a higher level of awareness resulting from both experience and understanding that the ego has no place in the process. Your goals and your successes are your own; Darren's role is to coach you to that place, and to bring out of you what you already possess and to coach you to excellence.