Water Is Life

We rely on water to perform a number of vital duties every day.  The human body is composed of approximately 70% water, so it would seem obvious that we need sufficient water intake to keep our bodies running smoothly.

Such bodily functions as expanding and contracting muscles, breathing (water keeps the lungs moist), controlling internal and external temperatures, lubricating our joints and allowing all other organs to do their jobs. Water is everywhere, from the jelly inside the eyeballs to the fluid inside our skulls in which the brain floats. It helps keep muscles expanding and contracting, the lungs moist for breathing, controls internal and external body temperatures, lubricates joints, and maintains the functioning of all of your other organs. Our blood is what carries nutrients to all tissue and rids those tissues of lactic acid, a by product of muscles during exercise, and other metabolic waste products. Because our blood is 90% water, without it our tissues would starve and we could literally poison ourselves in our own biochemical wastes.

Keeping cool and staying hydrated can help conserve energy that can be used for exercise periods or other daily activities. Seniors often hesitate to drink large amounts of water because they believe it will increase water retention. Actually, the opposite occurs. When there is enough water in the system, the body senses the shortage is over and the kidneys can resume getting rid of toxic wastes produced by the body. When this happens, the liver can return to its primary function of converting stored fat into energy.  Therefore, with a proper balance of caloric intake and physical exercise, the body is better able to reduce the amount of stored fat.  

In order to keep an elderly person functioning efficiently, they should try and drink about 96 ounces of pure water each day, that equals eight 12 ounce glasses.  For those of us that are overweight the daily water requirement increases by eight ounces for every twenty five pounds of excess body weight. Unfortunately, drinking other fluids that contain mostly water, such as coffee, tea, fruit juices, beer, wine, and so on, do not sufficiently satisfy that need. 

Sufficient water intake, along with keeping the body running smoothly, will also help in losing weight. When there is a water shortage in the body, its automatic reaction is to retain what water it does have. That retained water becomes increasingly contaminated with waste chemicals produced from bodily functions. The kidneys, whose job is to rid the body of waste products, are not able to flush out enough of this poisonous water and therefore are overloaded. When this happens the liver will attempt to get rid of the poisonous waste and become less efficient in performing one of its major duties, and that is changing stored body fat into usable energy. As a result, body fat will increase because stored fat is not being converted into energy.      

Water and Workouts

Workouts tend to elevate the body temperature.  This causes the body to sweat in order to cool itself.  Certain illness’ are caused by these prolonged exposures to hot temperature and high humidity, increased physical activity, and large amounts of fluid loss due to the sweating process.  Two such conditions are heatstroke and heat exhaustion.  Heat exhaustion is the first stage an overheated body will enter and some of its symptoms are cool, moist skin, slow pulse, confusion, and muscle cramps.  Heatstroke is a more severe form of a heat related illness and medical attention is required.  Its signs are sudden dizziness and weakness, hot, dry skin, no sweating, and rapid heartbeat. 

Treatment of these conditions are similar, first move the person to a cool shaded area and elevate the feet, second give the person cold liquids – water being the best.  With heatstroke, cool, damp towels can be applied to the body to help aid the bodies cooling process.  If the symptoms of heatstroke are apparent get the person some medical attention because this can result in serious injuries. You can lessen your chances of developing these conditions by being in good shape, drinking plenty of fluids before and after exercise, and avoiding exercising in the extreme heat and humidity.

Experts say to try and drink eight or more 12 oz. glasses of water per day, even if you are not exercising. More water should be consumed for people that are overweight;  their bodies work harder to do everyday activities. For the dedicated athlete who decides to exercise in the heat, more water should be consumed to compensate.

By making sure you are sufficiently hydrated and are exercising in a reasonable environment, you should have a productive and exercise-filled season.




These resources are for the purpose of personal trainer growth and development through Continuing Education which advances the knowledge of fitness professionals. This article is written for NFPT Certified Personal Trainers to receive Continuing Education Credit (CEC). Please contact NFPT at 800.729.6378 or [email protected] with questions or for more information.