Why we need hydration
FEEL THE GAME - Bobby Motus (The Freeman) - August 9, 2019 - 12:00am

This Sunday, about 2,200 casual and elite triathletes from more than 50 nations will converge at Shangri-La’s Mactan Resort and Spa for the Regent Agila Ironman 70.3 Philippines which Cebu will be hosting for the 8th time. These endurance athletes will race through the four cities of Lapu-lapu, Mandaue, Cebu and Talisay and vie for slots to the 2020 70.3 Ironman World Championships in New Zealand.

As per experience, we all know that roads used for the race route will be closed early morning until noon time and I would suppose that we already had planned our trips to avoid sitting for hours inside our immovable vehicles and cursing everyone except ourselves for being stuck in traffic.

The weather had been uncooperative lately and it would be an added challenge for the triathletes during the swim and bike course and hopefully, conditions will improve by Sunday.  Maybe it would help if we ask that pastor from Mindanao who claims to own the universe and just let him flick the switch to make the weather better for the athletes and spectators.


Our total body weight is composed of 60 to 65 percent water.  We need water in our system to control body temperatures, transport nutrients, lubricate and cushion our joints, nourish our brain, keep our skin moisturized, keep our eyes, ears and nose moist, improve digestion and overall cellular functions.  Electrolytes like potassium and sodium need water to be dissolved to trigger our nerves and muscle contractions.

We always hear that we need to consume at least 8 glasses a day for our bodies to flush out toxins and function well.  A glass of water is more or less equal to 8 ounces and consuming 8 glasses a day totals to about 2 liters.  New clinical research says that because there are not enough facts to support it, 8 glasses a day is not exactly the norm. 

Medical professionals recommend at least 3 liters for men and 2 liters for women but the amount is not all plain water aswe also get water from the food and beverages we take.  Most of us get enough hydration unless we’re involved in the Ironman 70.3, extreme weather conditions or have excessive sweating and urination.  Losing just 2 to 4 percent of our body fluids reduces our endurance and muscular strength.

The earliest sign of dehydration is obviously thirst.  Gradually, it involves elevated pulse rate and fatigue.   Later signs include weakness, dizziness and labored breathing.  When rehydrating, do it in a cool place and drink slowly as drinking too fast stimulates urination resulting in lesser hydration.  Unless we are athletes working out for extended periods, water is as good as sports drinks.

20 percent of water is taken from our daily food intake.  Fruits and vegetables have high water contents like cucumber and iceberg lettuce (96%), watermelons and strawberries (92%), broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage (90%), carrots (87%), pineapples and oranges (85%), banana (70%) and apples (65%).    Depending on the cut and kind, meat has more or less 70% water.  The leaner the meat, the higher the water content.  Poultry has about 10% lesser water content than red meat. 

It only takes 30 minutes to get dehydrated in hot weather and rehydration should be taken every 15 minutes during exercise.  Of course, water replenishment is dependent on the intensity and duration of the activity.  Plain water is best for hydration as it contains no extra calories.  On average, adults lose 10 cups of water daily thru sweat and urine but can be replenished by the food and fluids we ingest.

Proper hydration is also dependent on age.  Children need more as they get easily dehydrated than adults because of their hyperactivity.  Older people also need more water because of health conditions.  Men are naturally built bigger and heavier than women so the need for water is more.  Pregnant women need more water than other women.

The best thing with water is that it helps us in weight loss because it fills us up and we tend to eat less.  Aside from water in fruits and vegetables, the fiber in them adds bulk but doesn’t contain any calories.  A high percentage of water and fiber in foods results in fewer calories per portion thus, we won’t be consuming many calories when we eat.

Water temporarily boosts metabolism and in one study, an 8-ounce glass of water can burn about 12 calories so if we drink at least 8 glasses of water, 96 calories will be burned.  In another study, participants who had 16 ounces of water before meals lost an average of 5 pounds over the period of 3 months as compared to those who did not drink.

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