It's August and it's hot outside. Now is the perfect time to talk about the water you're drinking -- what kind, how much and why it's important.
Water makes up about 70 percent of the body, 90 percent of the blood and 85 percent of the brain, so you can imagine that a lack of it could have a negative effect on bodily functions.
There are many water sources out there from basic tap water to high-end bottled spring water, but how do you know which one to choose? A main concern when choosing a water source is to be aware of its purity. Contaminants like lead, arsenic, chlorine, pharmaceuticals, plastic byproducts and even fluoride are commonly found in drinking water. A good water filter will help clean your tap water of dissolved solids and therefore make it cleaner and better tasting.
Bottled water can be anything from tap water in a bottle to actual spring water that has been naturally filtered by the earth. Plastics bottles may leech chemicals into the water over time, so it's important to understand both the pros and cons of plastic bottled water.
Do your own research on the water you drink and find out if you're OK with its purity level. Like the saying goes, "If you don't filter your water, your body will become the filter."
So how much water do you really need? Although there is much debate on this, we recommend drinking half your weight in ounces per day. So, if you weigh 180 pounds, you need around 90 ounces or about 2.5 liters. This may seem like a lot of water, but if you cut out other liquids and replace them with water, this won't be much of a challenge.
Now, if you're drinking non-water liquids such as coffee, sodas, tea, milk and sugary drinks throughout the day rather than drinking water, you're creating a few problems. First off, caffeine and sugar will actually dehydrate your body by pulling water out of your cells. This creates a shift of intracellular fluid into extracellular fluid and causes cell dehydration.
So even though you have fluids inside your body, it's not inside the cells where it's really needed.
In addition, the pH of water is usually on the alkaline side rather than the acidic side. For optimum health, the body should be slightly more alkaline than acidic. These non-water liquids are also very acidic, so when you have a soda, for example, your body will immediately work to buffer the acidity to a more alkaline state. This buffering process uses up stored vitamins, minerals and enzymes, which will lead to further dehydration.
Since water is more alkaline, drinking more of it will help to keep your body in a natural alkaline/acid balance.
An easy way to add a bit of flavor to your water while making it more alkaline and adding a few minerals is to add a few drops of lime or lemon juice and a pinch of real sea salt. It adds flavor and actually helps the water get inside the cells where it can have a positive effect on cell hydration.
So cut out the non-water liquids, drink more clean filtered water and get ready to feel better in just a few days. For more exercise and nutrition tips, check out our blog at PushFitnessTraining.com.
• Joshua Steckler and Mark Trapp are co-owners of Push Fitness, a personal training studio in Schaumburg specializing in weight loss, muscle toning and nutrition. Contact them at PushFitnessTraining.com.