What do you, the trees, and a hamster have in common? Give up? You all need water.
All living things must have water to survive, whether they get it from a water fountain,
a rain cloud, or a little bottle attached to the side of a hamster cage.
Without water, your body would stop working properly. Water makes up more than
half of your body weight, and a person can't survive for more than a few days without
it. Why? Your body has lots of important jobs and it needs water to do many of them.
For instance, your blood, which contains
a lot of water, carries oxygen to all the cells of your body. Without oxygen, those
tiny cells would die and your body would stop working.
Water is also in lymph (say: limf), a fluid that is part of your immune
system, which helps you fight off illness. Water helps keep your temperature
normal. You need water to digest your food and get rid of waste. Water is needed for
digestive juices, urine (pee), and
poop. And you can bet that water is the main ingredient in perspiration, also called
Besides being an important part of the fluids in your body, water is needed by
each cell to work.
Your body doesn't get water only from drinking water. Any fluid you drink will
contain water, but water and milk are the best choices. Lots of foods contain water
too. Fruit contains quite a bit of water, which you could probably tell if you've
ever bitten into a peach or plum and felt the juices dripping down your chin. Vegetables
also contain a lot of water — think of slicing into a fat tomato or crunching
into a crisp stalk of celery.
How Much Is Enough?
Because water is so important, you might wonder if you're drinking enough. There
is no magic amount of water that kids need to drink every day. The amount kids need
depends on their age, body size, health, and activity level, plus the weather (temperature
and humidity levels).
Usually, kids drink something with meals and should definitely drink when they're
thirsty. But if you're sick, or it's warm out or you're exercising, you'll need more.
Be sure to drink some extra water when you're out in warm weather, especially while
playing sports or exercising.
When you drink is also important. If you're going to sports practice, a game, or
just working out or playing hard, drink water before, during, and after playing. Don't
forget your water bottle. You can't play your best when you're thinking about how
thirsty you are!
When your body doesn't have enough water, that's called being dehydrated. Dehydration
also can keep you from being as fast and as sharp as you'd like to be. A bad case
of dehydration can make you sick. So keep that water bottle handy when the weather
warms up! Not only does water fight dehydration, but it's refreshing and has no calories.
Your body regulates the amount of water in your system. The body holds on to water
when you don't have enough or gets rid of it if you have too much. If your pee is
very light yellow, you are well hydrated. When your pee is very dark yellow, it's
probably time to drink up.
You can help your body by drinking when you're thirsty and drinking extra water
when you exercise and when it's warm out. Your body will be able to do all of its
wonderful, waterful jobs and you'll feel great!