You’ve probably heard that you should be drinking 64 ounces of water per day for optimal health. Have you ever wondered where the suggestion of 64 ounces came from?
How is it that everyone needs exactly 64 fluid ounces? An NFL lineman who weighs 320 pounds and my mother who maybe weighs 100 pounds each need 64 fluid ounces?
Dr. Heinz Valtin, a highly regarded kidney specialist, reviewed the scientific evidence supporting the idea of drinking 8 ounces of water 8 times a day. He couldn’t find any. Yet he could not find any evidence you should not drink 64 ounces a day either. Bottom line – no one knows the origin of the 64 ounce suggestion.
But whether you drink 64 ounces or 94 ounces, water can be good for your joints.
It’s because being adequately hydrated helps your body use fat for energy. So, if you need to lose a few pounds (and for every one pound of fat you lose, you gain three pounds of joint strength), water can help.
Adequate water intake maintains something called cell volume.
Think of a cell as a water balloon. By responding to your first inkling of thirst and drinking frequently through the day (as you will naturally do if you pay attention), you will keep the balloon plump and filled up.
And increased cell volume is directly linked weight loss. It does so by increasing some of the key enzymes used to convert fat into energy. In fact, lipolysis (the breaking down of fat to use as energy) increases nearly 40% from increasing the cell volume. If you drink water, you can help yourself lose weight.
Keeping your body weight within an ideal range for your height and gender doesn’t guarantee freedom from joint pain but it sure helps.
Most of us use the term “dehydration” loosely. A commonly held belief is that thirst is a slowpoke. We think that when we are thirsty, we are very dehydrated and that thirst shows up well after the point of mild dehydration.
But, that’s not quite right. From a physiologic perspective, dehydration occurs along a spectrum ranging from minor to severe.
Minor dehydration is thirst. But it can also reveal itself as hunger or a generalized sense of fatigue or low energy.
Severe dehydration is lethargy, coma and then death. Hydration levels in the human body are tightly and automatically regulated. Thirst is generally a good indicator of impending dehydration and it occurs quickly. A mere 2% drop in the amount of water in your blood and your brain tells you “hey – drink some water”. It’s another one of the body’s warning signs.
Some experts suggest that if you respond to thirst, your intake will be fine along with all the other sources of fluid. But there’s the problem. It’s not just thirst you should respond to.
I get distracted by lots things and sometimes ignore the first signs of dehydration because, well, I’m just too busy to be stop and drink some water.
So, instead here’s what I do.
My goal is 40-50% of my bodyweight (ideally lean body mass rather than bodyweight) in ounces of water per day. At 210 lbs, my water intake should be around 80 ounces per day. I have a 32 ounce water bottle and I shoot for three of those over the course of a day.
What ends up happening though is I rarely drink all three bottles of water but I usually have water at meals, when I exercise, and ingest other liquids as well (and there’s some water in certain foods – fruits, vegetables). By the end of the day, I’m close to the 80 ounce goal.
Of course, just because you stay hydrated doesn’t guarantee you’ll lose weight and have brand new joints. It does, however, help stack the deck in your favor.
And it’s a simple thing to do. Start with 64 ounces as a goal and see what happens. You just might feel better, your joints might feel better and you might have more energy.
That’s all I have for now.
Thanks for reading.
PPS – If you like this article, why not share it with a friend?