All humans need water. Water is essential to body functions such as removing waste (this is where fat exits the body), regulating body temperature and lubricating essential joints and organs.
Water also helps in general regulatory processes, which can assist in differentiating thirst from hunger. Over 50% of the body is water, which means in the same way gas is needed to help a car run, water is needed to help a body run.
In addition to general health needs, athletes need water for performance. As little as 2% dehydration can lead to diminished performance.
The best way to properly hydrate yourself is to drink water. Though some hydration can come from the food you eat, the majority of hydration comes from plain old water. Don’t like plain water? Try flavoring it with fresh fruit or vegetables. If you really hate water, adding a splash of juice can help, but be careful about how much sugar you end up consuming.
Drinks with caffeine do not count in your daily water consumption as caffeine is a diuretic which pulls water from the body.
Most people need a minimum of 80 ounces of water a day, but really the best way to determine if you are hydrated enough is to look at your pee. The goal is for a light yellow color. If you drastically increase your water intake, you’ll likely pee a lot in the beginning, but that two will regulate over time.
To assist in maintaining proper hydration it’s a good idea to have water available easily. Keep a bottle on your desk, a cup in your bathroom or bedside table, and start your day with at least eight ounces before you even have coffee.
Happy drinking (and peeing!)