At the beginning of my wellness journey, and specifically on the first day of massage therapy school, I learned about the importance of drinking water. But how much? Traditionally we’ve all heard to drink eight 8-ounces of water each day. I question that theory because every person is of a different shape and size.
On that first day of school, we learned to drink water based on our weight, which made more sense to me. We are to drink one-half of our body weight in ounces every single day. And even more water when we are exerting ourselves in our sports, on hot days when we sweat, and even on cold days when the warm furnace air is drying out our bodies.
Why so much water? Did you know that our bodies are made up of 60% water? I’ve even heard as much as 80% water depending on the specific organ or tissue and how it utilizes water!
What does our body do with all of that water? Our bodies utilize water for a variety of reasons … as nourishment, as lubrication, and as detoxification.
Water is important for nourishment to the brain. Do you experience headaches, lack concentration, feel tired? Did you know the brain consists of upwards of 70% water? Adding more water to your daily routine can be a great way to manage these symptoms.
Water is important for lubrication of soft tissue, which consists of our muscles and fascia, as they glide along and support our joints. Fascia wraps around the muscles, bones, and joints. It is like Saran Wrap that holds everything in place.
Imagine a piece of chicken breast thrown on the grill only to be forgotten. How does that chicken feel when you try to slice it? Stiff and gristly, right? That’s what happens to your soft tissue when you fail to sufficiently hydrate with water.
Water is important for detoxification. Our digestive tract and related organs have specific roles for the system to function properly. If these organs fail to have sufficient water to do their respective jobs, a variety of symptoms can occur, such as constipation, low back pain, kidney stones, and even heartburn.
HOW MUCH WATER?
What counts towards your daily water goal? It can be argued that we get sufficient amounts of water from eating fruits and vegetables, however the body has to go through a digestive and metabolic process to separate water from the nutrients in these foods. Therefore, water in its purest form is recommended.
If you’re thinking,“I don’t like plain water”, consider adding lemon, fresh fruit, or even iced cubes of pure cranberry or pomegranate juice. But be aware to avoid marketed flavored water, as these products add sugar and “natural flavors”, which do your body no good.
As you calculate the amount of water you currently drink and compare it to half of your body weight in ounces, don’t freak out and think you’re going to drown! Make it a goal to increase your intake by 1 additional ounce per day until you reach your goal! Your body will more effectively utilize the increased consumption.
So drink your water and have an amazing day!
Denise Fahrion is a passionate orthopedic massage therapist in the McCandless suburbs of Pittsburgh. She personally works toward and shares with her clients ways to become “Focused. Grounded. Balanced.”