People constantly hear that they should be drinking eight cups of water
or more daily. There is a tremendous amount of misunderstanding among the general
population about this recommendation, and many folks ignore it. People assume that they're just fine without this seemingly ponderous amount of fluid
going through their system, because they don't feel any negative effects. Hydration
does a body good, and many of the benefits are as clear as the liquid itself.
Everybody knows that the human body is composed mostly of water. Obviously, it's necessary to have a base amount of water to survive. Having a constant amount of excess water in your body does wonders. Water is used to lubricate joints, moisten your mouth and throat, and is a key component in the various fluids the body produces. When the body has enough water available as a resource, it will be healthier. Muscles will inflate, and the brain works more rapidly. Extra water will eventually be urinated out, after cleaning out your kidneys. If your urine is clear, that means that your natural filtration system can't filter out any more toxins from your body. They've all been flushed out.
But why is there a need for so much water? Eight cups a day seems like a lot, and it is. Let's clarify this point somewhat. You don't need to break open eight packages of Evian a day to meet this requirement. The food we eat each day contains a significant amount of water. Other drinks such as juices count towards the daily amount of water, as well. Alcohol and caffeine are two examples of substances known as diuretics, which cause dehydration through excessive urination. Though they certainly are fluids, drinks with alcohol and caffeine are counter-productive to the goal of hydration.
A recommended daily allowance of eight cups of water daily leads one to a logical conclusion that the body relieves itself of approximately that amount every day. Most of this is through urination. Perspiration occurs constantly, even without strenuous physical activity. When you exhale, tiny droplets of water exit your mouth. All of these avenues of discharge occur steadily throughout the day, meaning that your consumption of water should also be constant. You can't just rely on your sense of thirst to know when to hydrate. Doing so would be equivalent to only getting gasoline for your car when the emergency empty light goes on. Likewise, only drinking enough to satisfy your thirst is like buying one gallon of gas at a time instead of filling it up.
People often fear that they will gain too much weight if they drink too much water. As a matter of fact, the opposite is true. Even if this were true, extra weight from water would go into your muscles rather than fatty tissue. Extra water consumption is a very good tool for those starting to diet. A stomach full of water will be more reluctant to crave food than a completely empty one. A good habitual intake of water will also make exercise easier on the body. As an excuse for hopping on the scale before and after a workout, measure the difference and drink water accordingly to restore your body's balance. A good rule of thumb is to drink two cups of water for every pound lost during exercise. Athletes perform their best when they drink copious amounts of water before as well as during their events. Recovery is greatly aided by consumption of water directly after strenuous exercise.
Proper hydration takes a while to get used to, mentally and physically. When your body adapts, you will probably feel a great deal healthier. It's not just a placebo effect. You're doing your body a great favor.