Whether you’re a surfer, athlete or just the average Joe looking for a little daily performance boost, you don’t have to look far. In fact, it’s possible you’re so busy focusing on Gatorade and vitamin pills, that you’re missing out on the most essential requirement for your body. I’m talking about water, and it’s just a twist of the faucet away. If you start throwing down glasses of water more often, your body and mind will thank you for it.

According to water facts provided by the Environmental Protection Agency, over 60 percent of the human body and 75 percent of the brain is composed of water. The body can go nearly a month without food, but only a week without water. Research by the Better Health Channel shows that a mature adult will lose between two to three liters of water daily and many people don’t know they’re suffering from dehydration.

Nearly 90 percent of our body weight comes from water, says data from the U.S. Geological Survey. So, imagine that you’re not providing your body with the right amount of fluids, and it’s no surprise you feel sluggish as you lose water and fail to replace it.

The health benefits of water consumption are limitless and yet it’s easy to chug a soda and overlook the water fountain. Allaboutwater.org explains that whenever our body slows down during the day or our stomach growls late at night, it’s just the body’s way of saying it’s thirsty. Our cells need water to dissolve and break down nutrients and minerals and aid in important biological processes. It increases metabolism, regulates appetite, clears waste and decreases joint and back pain.

Photo by waterwonderful.org

According to the  Journal of American Dietitics Association (Volume 99, number 2, pages 200-206, 1999), “Dehydration of as little as 2 percent loss of bodyweight results in impaired physiological and performance responses.” Dehydration affects your mood and ability to cognitively function, according to research.

So how much water should you be drinking to max out your daily performance? You’d probably say eight glasses of water. But according to Mayo Clinic, an adequate intake of water for an adult in temperate climate is actually more than eight glasses. An adult woman needs to consume 2.2 liters (9 cups) and an adult man needs to consume 3 liters (13 cups) every day. Another popular way to figure out how much you should drink is by drinking half your bodyweight in ounces. So, if you’re 130 pounds, you should drink 65 ounces of water a day. Naturally, different conditions physically and externally increase your daily water needs, like intense exercise or hot temperatures.

It’s important to understand what constitutes as part of your water intake. Food can actually make up 20 percent of your water consumption, with many fresh veggies and fruits composed of 90 percent water weight. Other beverages, like juice, tea and milk contain water. But to reap the ultimate benefits of water, it’s best to keep it simple. If you’re the kind of person that’s somehow bothered by water’s lack of taste, a squeeze of lemon, lime or mint can mix it up for you.

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It’s easy to get lost in today’s latest health trends — thanks to the Internet and endless sources of articles telling you what you should and shouldn’t do to your body. Drinking water is the easiest and cheapest way to improve your overall health. So before you give half of your rent money to performance powders and ingredients you can’t pronounce, get a little personal with H20.

Throw back a nice cold one and reap the benefits. Cheers.