Hydration and Balance

HYDRATION AND BALANCE

Our bodies are mostly made of water, about 55% for an adult female and about 60% for an adult male. Yet, it is reported that about two thirds of us aren’t drinking enough water to keep our bodies functioning properly and it is throwing us off balance.

Body parts are composed of the following percentages of water:

*Blood 92 %

*Lungs 83%

*Muscles 78%

*Kidneys 79%

*Heart 73%

*Brain 73%

*Skin 64%

*Bones 31%

As the primary building block for all cells, water is vital to the health of every system in our bodies. It regulates body temperature and manages heartbeat, blood pressure and electrolyte balance. Water aids digestion and transport nutrients and waste materials. It keeps eyes and mouths moist and lubricates our joints.

At just 2-3% dehydration, you may experience disturbing symptoms such as fatigue, lethargy, irritability and fuzzy thinking. Feeling thirsty you may feel dry mouth and skin as well as some dizziness. Headaches and muscle cramps may also occur at this level of dehydration. If symptoms deteriorate even further, you may need medical attention.

Drinking small amounts of fluid at a time, not a lot of fluid at one time, is usually enough for mild dehydration. Make sure you are continually drinking water during outdoor activity. Avoid coffee and caffeine drinks when exercising outside as they can dehydrate you faster. Severe dehydration may require IV fluids or even a hospital stay.

The old rule of thumb was to drink eight 8oz glasses of water a day but it is outdated and there is not a one size fits all for daily water intake. Factors that influence this are weight, activity level, weather, diet and overall health. It is recommended that you drink enough water so that you are rarely thirsty and your urine stays colorless or light yellow. If you are thirsty a lot and your urine is dark yellow, you really need to do something about it. Other good sources of fluid are high water content fruits and vegetables and soups.

Children are more likely to become dehydrated as they weigh less and their bodies process water more quickly. One of the leading reasons for the elderly to be admitted to the emergency room is dehydration. Even something this simple can be dangerous to an older person so keep a watch out for those older folks that you love.

Ever notice a woman of a certain age that looks at least a decade younger than she should because of her fabulous skin? Chances are that she not only has good genetics, chosen good skin care and sunscreen, but she probably drinks a lot of wate. Another bonus to staying hydrated!

Hydration improves our everyday health and is a simple way to keep us in better balance.

Here’s to living well and happy!