Just Add Water
The Magical 24/7/365 Elixir of Life
BY: DR. JOHN McELLIGOTT, Dr. John’s Medical Solutions
The simple instruction “Just Add Water” is found on thousands of items available wherever groceries are sold. That same instruction applies even more to you over the course of your 16 to 17 awake hours each day.
Also identified by its chemical formula, H2O is the single, most-important resource your body needs. Your body is 60% to 65% water, depending on which article you read, and the composition of your blood is 93% to 95% water, depending on how well you stay hydrated. The normal person needs an absolute minimum of two liters of water a day, some of which can come from certain food groups such as fruits and vegetables.
OTR drivers who are perfectly healthy and have normal body weight generally don’t have as much trouble maintaining body hydration. A person with a lean body has more water onboard than a person carrying lots of fat. The fat cell is very inefficient and basically just takes up space; a condition you and I know all too well by the size of the pants we wear. Overweight drivers need more water, since they do not maintain a steady fluid state as easily.
How much water is enough?
Following is the basic approach to determining how much water you should drink each day to maintain your health.
1. Your weight: Knowing your weight is the first step.
2. Multiply by 2/3: Next you want to multiple your weight by 2/3 (or 67%) to determine how much water to drink daily. For example, if you weigh 180 pounds, just multiply that by 2/3 to determine you should be drinking approximately 120 ounces (3.6 liters) of water every day.
3. Activity Level: Finally, you should adjust that number based on how often you exercise, since you are expelling water when you sweat. You should add 12 ounces of water to your daily total for every 30 minutes of exercise. So if you work out for 45 minutes daily, you should add 18 ounces of water to the recommended amount for your body weight.
While no single formula fits everyone, simply remember that more is better. It’s very difficult to overdose on water. Why? Water provides the body with the ability to basically stay alive. Some drivers drink coffee, soft drinks, fruit drinks, and energy drinks. While these drinks provide some water, it’s not enough to satisfy the body’s need for cell hydration. Under-hydration contributes to weight gain and poor sleep, while diminishing overall health. Water is a life-changing and even life-saving requirement, so stay hydrated.
Low water intake, weight gain, and hypertensive medications with a diuretic put you at a greater risk of becoming dehydrated. If this happens, you will begin to feel the systemic effects of running out of water. This is what you will notice:
5 Early Warning Signs
- If you experience one or more of these warning signs, you need to get busy drinking more water.
- Dry tongue
- Dark yellow/amber urine in the morning/upon awakening
- Dry eyes
- Foggy feeling and irritability
5 Serious Warning signs
- You’ll experience the beginning of more noticeable and more serious systemic changes that are telling you to drink more water:
- Constipation i.e. hard and painful bowel movements
- Dark amber urine, low volume, frequent urination due to heavily concentrated urine
- No tears, eyes feel like the Mohave Desert
- Cramps, a calling in the lower extremities
5 Signs of Pending Doom
- At this point, dehydration has entered its final stages, and you’re in serious trouble.
- Tenting of the skin
- Low blood pressure
- Faster heart rate
- No urine flow
- Fever and collapse
Some believe, and I am one, that water prevents heart attacks. When the body is low on water, so is the blood, which causes it to flow less like water and more like thick 10W50 oil. There is also less blood volume, so it becomes viscous and difficult for the heart to pump it past any blockage, especially in the brain and heart. Thick blood is also more likely to grab onto plaque, break it lose, and carry it to the heart or brain.
Remember, just from breathing, you can lose 1-2 liters in a 24-hour period, even more if you use a CPAP during sleep. When you face delivery deadlines and are focused on driving 500 to 700 miles a day, it’s easy to forget about hydration. Keep in mind, your health, and maybe even your life, are at stake.
If you have a question, call me on the St. Christopher Minute, Road Dog Radio with Tim Ridley SiriusXM 146 every Friday morning. The questions you ask likely relate to many listeners. Let’s have a tall, cold one together. Make it H2O.
HOW MUCH SHOULD I DRINK?
To make it a littler easier to calculate how much water to drink everyday, the following chart provides recommended amounts for a range of weights. Remember to adjust for your activity level. NOTE: 1 liter equals 34 ounces.