There are three questions that I find myself asking my clients more than any others. They are, in no particular order:
- How much time do you spend in front of a computer?
- Do you stretch after you work out?
- How much water do you drink?
The answer to the first question, one hundred percent of the time, is: "Too much." The answer to the second two questions, more often than not? "Not enough."
I'll come back to the first two questions another day. Today, I'm interested in water because I haven't been drinking enough of it. Just as importantly, an arresting number of my clients don't have the first idea why their water consumption, or lack thereof, water might have anything to do with their tight shoulders, stiff joints, or even their headache or chronically dry skin.
Let's talk about that for a minute.
Try to think back and remember the grade school statistic. The human body is something like 60% water. (Full disclosure: That number might be a little off. I didn't look it up. Its reasonably accurate, though.) That's more than half. Not only are we full of the stuff, but water powers everything we do, begining on a cellular leve.
Basic metabolism requires water in order to happen. Our body takes in nutrients and our bodies use water to dissolve them and turn them in to something we can use. Most of our organs are saturated in it. The brain? Close to 70% water. The lungs are more like 90. Most of our blood is water. You can't argue that those things aren't all critical.
In the past few years, I've come across some articles arguing the fact that we need our 8 glasses of water a day. They've claimed that just a few glasses is fine, that any beverage is fine, that if we eat well, we'll get plenty of hydration from the foods that we eat. Some of my clients who find water particularly distasteful are quick to remind me of those articles. Maybe they're right, but I just can't get behind the idea.
To me, its science. Surely we can agree that different things have a different chemical structure. Water's is unique, and when we drink something that isn't water, we process it differently and to a different effect. The question of getting water from vegetables or soup or other areas of our diet is similar. Sure, our bodies are getting water, but they are also using water to process the Other Stuff that its trying to get water out of. Maybe drinking tea all day long is better for you than drinking nothing at all, and I would never argue that vegetables don't have a laundry-list of benefits, but I still think that water is key.
Obviously, I'm over simplifying here, but I think it helps to look at this on an extremely elementary level: Our bodies need water to function. They need a lot of water to function optimally. And most of us don't drink enough. And when I say "enough," I mean at least 64 ounces a day.
If you're not a water-drinker, that sounds like a lot. You're going to complain that its boring, that you don't like the taste, or that you'll be in the bathroom all day. All that I can say to that is that I'm sorry, and that you and your body will learn to get used to it. After awhile, you'll feel better. You might have more energy or better skin or lose weight or get fewer headaches.
My goal for February is going to be to drink 8 glasses of water a day, and I'd like to try an experiment. Will you help me out, and do your bodies a favor in the process?
Email me before February 14th and tell me that you're going to try drinking 8 glasses of water a day. Also tell me how your body typically feels. Really think about it. Stiff? Lethargic? Dry? Headachey? Drink your water for at least two weeks. All your water--eight glasses a day. Email me again at the end of the two weeks, and tell me whether or not you feel different. At the end of the month, I'll randomly select one person and send them a gift certificate for a drink at Starbucks. After two weeks of water, you'll deserve a caffeinated reward.