If you’re not drinking enough water, you could end up with excess body fat, poor muscle tone, digestive complications, kidney problems, high blood pressure and muscle and joint soreness. 

Next to air, water is the element most necessary for survival. An adult male should have 50 to 65 per cent water content and an adult female should have 45 to 60 per cent. We can go without food for almost two months. But without water? Only a few days. Yet most people have no idea how much water they should drink. In fact, many live in a dehydrated state. 

Without water, we’d be poisoned to death by our own waste products. When the kidneys remove uric acid and urea, these must be dissolved in water. If there isn’t enough water, wastes are not removed as effectively and may build up as kidney stones. Water also is vital for chemical reactions in digestion and metabolism. It carries nutrients and oxygen to the cells through the blood and helps to cool the body through perspiration. Water also lubricates our joints. So if you don’t drink sufficient water, you can impair every aspect of your physiology. 

Just adding drinking water to each meal could save you from consuming an extra 200 calories a day! Turns out, people who regularly quench their thirst with water at meal time consume a whopping nine per cent fewer calories than non-water drinkers. So tip the balance in your favour by sipping water throughout the day. 

How can you tell if you are drinking enough water? Water intake is very individualized. Depending on your size, job requirements and physical activity, your water needs will change drastically. However, if your urine is unusually strong smelling or dark, it may be a sign that you are dehydrated. Low urine volume over the course of a day is usually associated with dehydration. If you experience any of the following symptoms, you may be slightly dehydrated: fatigue, headaches, increased heart rate, dry mouth, difficulty concentrating, and dizziness. 

The key is prevention. Keep a water bottle at your desk and in your vehicle and drink it consistently throughout the day and night. When you open your fridge, the first thing you should see is water. A simple way to increase water consumption is to drink a glass of water with each meal. From improved digestion to disease prevention, the positive benefits that you receive from consistent water consumption are vast.  

Bryan Harris 
Health and wellness educator