Water is more than a thirst-quencher | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Water is more than a thirst-quencher

Rhonda Beckham

You’ve probably heard it a thousand times: Make sure you drink plenty of water every day. But why is it so important and how much is enough?

Water is the most important nutrient of life. It is the main constituent of the body and forms 50 to 60 percent of body weight.

We live in a dry climate at high altitude and need to pay extra attention to our body’s hydration needs. This is especially important during the summer with increased physical activity, alcohol consumption and warmer temperatures.

Water transports nutrients to cells and also extracts waste from cells. Water facilitates excretion of waste products and toxins in urine. It helps to lubricate joints and cushions organs.

Water absorbs heat with relatively little change in temperature. Water helps regulate body temperature by absorbing heat and releasing it through production and evaporation of perspiration.

Dehydration symptoms generally become noticeable after 2 percent of one’s normal water volume has been lost. When you become dehydrated, your body sends signals like little “alarms” going off. Thirst is one indicator of dehydration, but it is not an early warning sign. By the time you feel thirsty, you might already be dehydrated. Moderate dehydration symptoms include: loss of appetite, dry skin, constipation and lethargy. Untreated dehydration may result in delirium, unconsciousness and in extreme cases death.

Water sources include food and certain beverages. An individual should be able to gain 20 percent of their water needs from a balanced diet. Most experts do not consider soda, coffee, alcohol and black tea to be good sources of water because of their diuretic effects. Drinking water instead of soda with your next meal would eliminate 150 calories a day, and you could lose 15 pounds in one year.

How much is enough? The easiest way to think about water consumption is each day to drink a minimum of 1 ounce of water for every 2 pounds of body weight:

40 pound child should consume 20 ounces, or almost 3 cups

112 pound teenager should have 56 ounces, or 7 cups

176 pound adult should take in 88 ounces, or 11 cups

These are only estimates. About.com has a great hydration calculator that analyzes different factors such as altitude, amount of exercise, pregnancy and climate.

As with most things, it’s just a matter of developing a new habit. The rewards of this one are priceless: weight loss, a clearer mind, more energy, smoother skin, and less aches and pains. The more you drink, the more you’ll crave because your body will remind you of what it really needs.

I purchase cases of bottled water when on sale and keep them in the back of my Isuzu so I’ll always be prepared. I ask my clients to do the same, to always have a bottle nearby, next to them in the car, at their desk, kitchen counter, and on the nightstand. Water, water everywhere. …

Initial signs of dehydration:

Fatigue

Headaches

Feeling dizzy and lightheaded

Having a dry or sticky mouth

Producing less urine and darker urine

– Rhonda Beckham is a nationally certified personal trainer, with teaching certificates in Pilates and kickboxing. Beckham is owner of Help Me Rhonda and Perfect Pilates, a Pilates instructor at Lake Tahoe Community College and Sierra Athletic Club, as well as a personal trainer operating out of Sierra Athletic Club and the Tahoe Keys Marina Dance Studio. She may be reached at (530) 208-6369, http://www.tahoetrainer.com and rhonda@tahoetrainer.com.


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