Most people know water is necessary to stay alive. But there is more to it than that. Water isn’t just vital to staying alive but vital to operate at an optimal level, in other words, water is vital for all body organs and systems to operate effectively. To have healthy body cells, tissues, organs and systems, there must be an an adequate supply of water. For the average situation, six to eight glasses (8 oz.) of water per day is considered an ideal amount. That’s for a person who is sedentary.
How does one know when to drink water and how often? When one is thirsty? That’s a good rule but often our thirst sensors get dulled by not having drunk water, by surpressing the desire for it when our body needs it. A healthy thirst is also surpressed by taking on liquids that seem to satisfy our thirst but actually kill a natural thirst. Some that fall in this category are sugar, coffee, tea and energy drinks (Many containing caffeine and other additives) Add to that drinks containing alcohol. So, we may not know when our bodies need water.
One way to take care of the water issue is just to drink the six to eight glasses which has been found to be what most people need. Add to that a visual check which is pretty reliable. If the urine is nearly clear or only slightly yellow, a half hour or so later, then one is probably drinking enough water. Yellow or orange-yellow urine is a bad sign. You are “running on empty”.
In order to qualify, as a “hydrated hiker” one actually needs to be water-wise all the time. It starts at home. Water is vital to a healthy and productive lifestyle. So staying as healthy as possible is everyone’s business. Another point, to not only remember but also put into practice, is that one will need more than the basic amount of water if involved in hiking and/or other vigorous activity, whether one sweats or not. (By the way, isn’t water a good blood thinner, calmer and wrinkle reducer?)
Not only does the skin release moisture all the time, but even when it isn’t obvious. Water is also released into the air every time we breath out, The evidence of that may be seen when we breath out against the mirror. So, we give off moisture constantly, even while we sleep. When you get up in the morning, is a good time to catch up and get started on the day’s “rule of six to eight”. Be sure the three glasses of water are room temperature. It is less traumatic for the stomach and a stomach relaxer). Water and the idea of it may be “hard to swallow” but would you rather take pills? If you are not used to drinking water first thing in the morning, start out with one glass for a week and then two, and on up to three the following week. If you start hankering for coffee, drink water (Juice is good but water is better). Water and juice are good coffee substitutes. (I now miss water in the morning if I don’t have it).
Remember, water is essential on the inside as well as on the outside, except don’t use soap. Water taken internally is good for “them dry bones”. After all, we are mostly water (but we are not jellyfish). Every one needs water, not just hikers!