Health Tip October 2016
I’m taking a line from the most interesting man in the world, but I wouldn’t want this for my friends.
The weather is starting to become much nicer, and it’s the perfect time to forget to drink more water. The cooler temps don’t prompt a big thirst, but the dry air sucks the moisture from our bodies.
More water, more health (for the majority-especially here in the southwest). Our bodies are roughly 70% water, and the picture that accompanies this tip shows the varying percentages of water in some selected tissues. The one tissue that isn’t displayed is adipose- fat. Only 10% of fat is water. Even bone has more water. The fatter you get, the less water you carry. There have been some obese people measured at only 45% water.
The majority of issues that I see in my office on a daily basis would be helped by increasing water intake. Dehydration is a leading factor in muscle spasms, cramps, and tears.
What is a good amount of water to drink? A good start would be the 8×8 rule; the AMA recommends drinking 8 eight ounce glasses of water per day- 64 ounces, or ½ gallon. However, for most athletes, this is far too little. Hydration is affected by our choice of fluids, both in drinks and in foods (high in things like soup), as well as your body type, activity level, metabolic balance, and the environment you live and work within.
There are some that believe that your urinary frequency and concentration (how yellow the urine is, as well as more smell) are better indicators of hydration level. The greater the level of hydration, the more you will be peeing and the clearer your urine will be (along with no odor). This method has its drawbacks; certain individuals with metabolic imbalances will not have concentrated urine despite dehydration.
A simple test is to pinch the skin on the back of your hand. Take a chunk of skin between your index finger and thumb, and pull it off the back of the hand. When you can’t pull it farther from your skin, release it. If it snaps back immediately and you can’t see any of the “pinch” left, this is a sign of adequate hydration. If the skin is slow to return to its normal position, it indicates levels of dehydration.
All of these indicators give you only a general idea of hydration. For those who really need to know, our metabolic testing that we do here in our office will tell your hydration status exactly, as well as any factors that may be influencing that status.
Lastly, if you are trying to increase your water intake, and are having a tough time, consider getting an app that will help you track your water intake, as well as having the ability to remind you to drink. I have used the app Waterlogged, which is available for all phone types, and have found it to be very helpful in keeping me drinking throughout the day.
Don’t stay thirsty, my friends…