Tuesday, September 06, 2005

The Importance of Water

By Troy Vander Molen, PT (Work Systems Rehab & Fitness; Pella, Des Moines, and West Des Moines, Iowa)

Water is an essential part of our diet. A person could live without food for about a month, but only about one week without water. The human brain is composed of 95% water; blood is 82% water; the lungs are nearly 90% water. A mere 2% drop in body water can trigger fuzzy short-term memory, trouble with basic math, and difficulty focusing on the computer screen or on a printed page! Mild dehydration is also one of the most common causes of daytime fatigue. Estimates are that seventy-five percent of Americans have mild, chronic dehydration.

Still not convinced about the importance of water? Here are several more interesting facts:

Water is an appetite suppressant. Plus, it has shown itself to be beneficial in losing weight and body fat percentage. Here’s why: The kidneys can’t function properly without enough water. When they don’t work efficiently, some of their load is dumped onto the liver. One of the liver’s primary functions is to metabolize stored fat into usable energy for the body. But, if the liver has to do some of the kidney’s work, it can’t operate at full throttle. As a result, it metabolizes less fat, more fat remains stored in the boy, and body weight gradually increases.

Drinking enough water is the best treatment for fluid retention. When the body gets less water, it perceives this as a threat to survival and begins to hold on to every drop. Water is stored in extracellular spaces (outside the cell). This shows up as swollen feet, legs and hands.

Drinking eight glasses of water daily decreases the risk of colon cancer by 45%. Drinking enough water can also reduce the risk of bladder cancer (by 50%) and it can potentially even reduce the risk of breast cancer. Preliminary research indicates that 8-10 glasses of water a day could significantly ease back and joint pain for up to 80% of sufferers.

An overweight person needs more water than a thin person. Larger people have larger metabolic loads. Since we know that water is the key to fat metabolism, it follows that the overweight person needs more water. The overweight person needs one additional glass for every 25 pounds of excess weight. The amount you drink also should be increased if you exercise briskly or if the weather is hot and dry.

Water should preferably be cold. It’s absorbed into the system more quickly than warm water. And some evidence suggests that drinking cold water can actually help burn calories. To utilize water most efficiently during weight loss, follow this schedule:

· Morning: 1 quart consumed over a 30-minute period.
· Noon: 1 quart consumed over a 30-minute period.
· Evening: 1 quart consumed between five and six o’clock.

The best news about drinking water for health benefits? It’s virtually free. You can drink more than 4,000 glasses of tap water for the price of a six-pack of soda. That’s great news to a Dutch guy like me!

All and only the best!

Troy Vander Molen, PT
Work Systems Rehab & Fitness, PC
Pella, Iowa

Troy is a physical therapist with Work Systems Rehab & Fitness, PC (WSR&F). If you have any questions regarding this topic or any other issue related to health and wellness, contact a knowledgeable health professional at WSR&F by calling (641) 621-0230.

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