Having enough water and other fluids throughout each day is important for good health and physical well-being. Dehydration can cause fatigue, cramping, and reduce your ability to function physically, so preventing it is key. Remember, even when you're not physically active, your body still loses water daily through your lungs, skin and urine – and if these losses aren't replaced, dehydration can result.
Water should be taken in adequate amounts and other beverages should be consumed in moderation.
Why do you need water?
- Water is the major constituent of the human body. It accounts for 70% of our body weight
- It is a constituent of blood and other vital body fluids
- Water plays a key role in transportation of nutrients and elimination of body wastes and regulation of body temperature
- Water act as a lubricant in various parts of the body, especially within joints. This makes movements easier and minimizes the wear and tear of cartilage and bones
- The body loses water through sweat, urine and faeces. This loss must be constantly made good with clean and potable water
How much water do you need?
A normal, healthy person needs to drink about 8 glasses (2 litres) of water per day. During very hot weather and while undertaking vigorous physical activity, this requirement increases as a considerable amount of water is lost through sweat.
When is water considered safe and wholesome?
Water that we drink, should be safe and wholesome ie, it should be free from disease-causing agents like bacteria, viruses, parasites etc. and harmful chemical substances like pesticides, industrial wastes, heavy metals, nitrates, arsenic and excess of fluoride. Fluorosis, a disease which causes bone deformities and dental problems, results from drinking water containing an excess of fluoride over long periods. Generally, a concentration of 0.5 to 0.8 mg of fluoride per litre of drinking water is considered safe.
How water is made safe to drink?
If a water source is not safe for drinking, boiling it for 10-15 minutes is a satisfactory method of purification of the water. It kills all disease-causing organisms and also removes temporary hardness. However, boiling will not remove other chemical impurities. Tablets containing 0.5 g of chlorine can disinfect 20 litres of water. There are many modern gadgets which claim to provide safe and wholesome water. However, they vary in efficacy.
Tips to ensure staying hydrated
It is easy to forget to regularly drink water. Drinking water when you are thirsty is not enough, you need to keep sipping it throughout the day. Here are some tips to help:
- Keep water handy, always carry a bottle or keep one around
- If you don’t like the taste of plain water, add a squeeze of lime
- Instead of a cola, make it a point to have butter milk, lassi or water with every meal, even when eating out
- Ensure that your fridge always has a supply of water bottles, so that you and your family can simply pick one up while going out
- Have a different coloured bottle, glass or cup for each child. And keep it filled, so that it is easy for them to get into the habit of drinking water