What is water’s function in the body?


Water plays a vital role in the day-to-day functioning of our body, with 50-60% of our total body composition comprising of water. Water is used to help transport nutrients to cells, carry waste away from cells, cushion and lubricate the brain and joints, as well as regulate body temperature throughout. It can therefore be found in all cells, with the exception of fat cells.


How can water help regulate body temperature?


One of the major roles of water is its ability to regulate out body temperature. This means that water is able to assist with both cooling our body on hot days, as well as ensuring out body stays warm during colder days.


When we think of water regulating our body temperature, we often think of sweat. Water will conduct heat, move out of our body onto our skin, and evaporate, therefore dissipating any excess heat that the water was carrying.


Water also helps ensure we remain warm during colder days by conducting heat and retaining it inside of the body. This ensures that our body’s core temperature remains stable.


What happens if we do not have enough water to regulate body temperature?


Failure to regulate body temperature can have detrimental effects. In cold environments, symptoms such as hypothermia or frost bite can occur which can lead to severe illness or death.


On hot environments, failure to regulate body temperature can lead to heat stroke or heat exhaustion, which can have varying degrees of consequences depending on the severity.


Although there are extreme situations where hydration and fluid intake will likely not affect the outcome, it’s important to stay hydrated and understand how fluid intake may be able to help when it’s important to regulate body temperatures.


An example of the importance of regulating body temperatures is through exercise. Regulation of our body’s core temperature is extremely important for performance as overheating can lead to decreases in cognitive function, sprint speed, and overall performance. Because of this, sufficient fluid intake is vital to ensure that we can sweat effectively to maintain our core body temperature.  


How can we stay hydrated on hot days?


Generally, sipping on 2-3L of water throughout the day will be sufficient for ensuring you are hydrated. However, on hot days, days you are exercising, or if you want a boost to your hydration throughout the day, consider using an electrolyte supplement.