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Q & A with Michael Carrera

( [email protected] ) May 12, 2006 12:31 PM EDT

This article was brought to you by Truestar Health: The World's Most Comprehensive Nutrition, Fitness & Healthy Lifestyle Resource

Q: Does everyone need to drink eight glasses of water per day? How do I know if I am getting enough? I work out pretty hard 3 to 5 times per week. Should I drink more water on those days?

A: Water is very important for many bodily functions including providing the flow of nutrients and the removal of wastes from the body. Several cups of water are lost daily through breathing and that doesn’t even include the amount of water you lose by moving around and exercising. Every system in your body is dependent on water and approximately 60 to 70% of your body is made up of water. The average person urinates approximately 1.5 liters per day and expires 1 liter of water per day. While it is true that many foods contain a high amount of water, we only replenish 20 to 30 % of our water loss from eating. Environmental influences also affect how much water you need, so the more humid the environment, the more you need to drink.

Intense exercise also increases your water requirements. The longer and more intense your workout, the more water you need to drink. Sip water consistently during your workout and use the equation below to calculate how much water you need. You can adjust your water needs on a daily basis depending on your exercise schedule and environmental conditions.

Your daily water requirements should not be replaced by coffee or tea, since most of these drinks contain caffeine which is a natural diuretic. Also, juices contain sugar which spikes your blood sugar and causes energy imbalances.

Since we are all different sizes and weights and drink from different glasses, it is difficult to quantify eight glasses of water per day. To help ease some of this confusion, here is a simple formula for you to follow. If you are generally active on a daily basis, take your weight in pounds and multiply it by 0.5. This will give you your water requirements per day in ounces. If you are very active and engage in both a combination of resistance and cardiovascular training 4 to 6 days per week, take your body weight and multiply it by a factor of 0.6 to get your daily water requirements in ounces per day.

Once you have your total required ounces per day, choose a glass, measure how many ounces it holds and use that glass as an indication of how many glasses of water you should drink. For instance, someone who weighs 150 lbs and takes their weight and multiplies it by 0.5 is required to drink 75 ounces of water per day. If the glass they chose holds 9 ounces of water, they should drink approximately 8 glasses of water per day.

Water is a very important fluid for the body. Make sure you are getting enough of it. Keep water at your desk or carry a bottle of it around with you and take regular sips throughout the day.

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