The Importance of Drinking Water
Water, water everywhere, / Nor any drop to drink
Lines from “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner,” by Samuel Taylor Coleridge. The speaker, a sailor on a ship, is surrounded by salt water that he cannot drink. Sometimes, I feel overwhelmed when I am told how much water I should be drinking for optimum health.
The adult human body is approximately 60% water. Water is essential for the overall health and well-being of our bodies. Some of these benefits are:
- Water helps dissolve minerals and other nutrients in the body.
- Water lessens the burden on the kidneys and liver by flushing out waste products.
- Water helps the body recover from mental and physical fatigue.
- Water carries nutrients and oxygen to cells in the brain and other parts of the body.
- Water keeps the temperature of the body within a normal range.
- Water lubricates and cushions joints.
- Water protects the spine and other tissues.
Drinking enough water can also help you look your best. For example, water keeps your skin looking healthy. Water also contains zero calories, which makes it an excellent tool for managing your weight, as well.
How Much Water Should I Drink?
Most people have heard the old adage: You should drink eight 8-ounce glasses of water per day for a healthy body. For most people, this is a good start, but the information is a bit antiquated. Depending on the source, the exact amount of water differs. According to the National Academies, men should drink approximately 125 ounces of water per day, and women should drink around 91 ounces. According to Trent Nessler, PT, DPT, MPT, managing director of Baptist Sports Medicine in Nashville, Tennessee: “In general, you should try to drink between half an ounce and an ounce of water for each pound you weigh, every day.” If you weigh 150 pounds, a healthy amount of water is between 75 and 150 ounces per day. Therefore, healthy water consumption is more individualized than most people realize. Water consumption should then be adjusted if you live in a high altitude, live in a hot climate, pregnant, nursing, or are ill.*
How Can I Drink All This Water?
When I first began drinking the amount recommended by Dr. Nessler, I was using the bathroom so frequently, I felt like I always needed to urinate. I even joked with friends about how I felt I was always going to the bathroom. A few commented that they had been down this same road, and after awhile, their bodies began accommodating the amount of water. I also realized that, for most of us, our bodies are in a state of dehydration. This means it has to adjust to performing with the correct amount of water intake. Eventually, I also stopped needing to use the bathroom so frequently.
Another way to consume more water is through food. Many foods are filled with water, especially fruits and veggies. Here is a list of 10 water-filled foods:
- Oranges – 88%
- Peaches – 89%
- Cantaloupe – 90%
- Strawberries – 91%
- Watermelon – 92%
- Tomatoes – 94%
- Zucchini – 94%
- Cucumber – 95%
- Celery – 95%
- Lettuce – 96%
Ways to Enjoy Drinking More Water
I have never enjoyed drinking milk or fruit juices as much as I have water and flavored water. I was drinking water, but not nearly enough for my age and weight. The following are a few ways to begin consuming more water:
- Carry an insulated sports bottle with you and fill it up periodically.
- Keep a glass of water beside you during the day and set up reminders on your phone to drink small amounts.
- Keep a glass of water next to your bed. Many of us wake up, dehydrated, first thing in the morning.
- Switch one glass of soda or cup of coffee for a glass of water.
- Drink a glass of water before a meal to feel less hungry.
Apps on your phone can also help with the logging of daily water consumption. Searching for a water tracker is a good place to start. Some devices, like the FitBit and Apple Watch, have a water tracker, as well. My current favorite water app is Plant Nanny, which is available for iOS and Android. I drink water, I log the amount, and the plant and I stay healthy and happy. It’s also a free app, which makes it even better.
*Please note: Some people are not able to drink as much water due to their own body chemistry. Remember to listen to your own body and consult a doctor to make sure you are able to safely increase your daily water consumption.
Michelle Martin was born into a musical family and has been teaching music for over 20 years. Besides teaching piano and voice, Michelle is a performer, a choir director, a writer, a composer, and a homeschool mom. Most recently she has published three music curricula through Schoolhouse Teachers. Music has always been a passion for Michelle, and she believes exposing a child to music is just as important as learning math or science. Michelle lives with her husband, Jim, two daughters, Zoe and Eva, and a myriad of furry and aquatic friends.