If you’ve heard it once, you’ve heard it a thousand times: drink more water! There’s actually facts and science behind that statement, and lots of reasons to heed it.
It has been said that 75% of Americans are dehydrated. That shouldn’t be shocking to me with the amount of soda and energy drinks that we consume, but when we have fresh water so readily available, it makes me wonder how much better we would all feel if we would lay off the sugary drinks and just drink enough water.
There is more to water than just a good way to quench your thirst. Nearly every organ and cell in your body utilizes water to function properly and without adequate hydration, your body suffers.
Here is a list of reasons to drink up.
Improved Brain Function
The brain is 75% - 80% water, which makes it easy to understand why brain and cognitive functions are reduced if you’re not drinking enough water. If you’re feeling sluggish or foggy-brained, try increasing your water intake. It might be helpful to jot down how you’re feeling before, and track your water intake to see if you notice a change in your cognitive function from the increased water.
Protects Your Tissues, Spinal Cord, and Joints
As we age, one of the biggest concerns we face when it comes to exercise is keeping our joints healthy. Water plays a vital role in this, as it keeps the joints and tissues lubricated and working smoothly. Healthy joints and tissues will help keep you injury free both in and out of the gym.
Can Aid in Helping You Lose Weight and Eat Better
It might sound too easy, but getting adequate water throughout the day can help with weight loss. Drinking plenty of water helps keep you fuller longer, and helps to metabolize stored fat in the body. And since water helps with your cognitive function leaving your brain more clear, you are likely to move your body more, resulting in more calories burned.
Water Aids in Digestion
Water is necessary to digest food. It helps break down the food, allowing your body to absorb it more efficiently. Water is absorbed into the bloodstream via the small and large intestine, helping shuttle nutrients where they need to go in the body.
Helps Regulate Body Temperature
Sweating is your body’s way of regulating its temperature. If the body becomes too hot, it will sweat in order to bring the temperature down. The evaporation of the sweat from the surface of the skin helps cool you down. Drinking enough water to replenish what was lost due to sweating is necessary to keep your body temperature where it needs to be.
Carries Nutrients and Oxygen to the Cells
Blood is made up of about 92% water, which means water plays an important role in delivering all the nutrients to your body. Digestion breaks down the food we eat so that it can be carried into the blood via water through the intestinal wall. From there the blood will carry the oxygen and nutrients throughout the body.
Reduce Muscle Fatigue and Cramps
For those of us who enjoy an intense workout session, drinking enough water can help speed up recovery and help keep muscle cramps at bay. If you’ve ever suffered from a muscle cramp due to dehydration, you know how painful they can be. Taking the time to drink adequate water is worth it.
May Help Prevent Disease
Who knew that something as simple as drinking water could have such an impact on disease prevention? Colon cancer, rectal cancer, bladder cancer, chronic urinary tract infections, kidney stones….all of these potentially can be avoided when your body is adequately hydrated.
So How Much Should I Be Drinking?
Like with anything, every persons body is unique and what your body needs may be different than that of the next person. A good rule of thumb to follow is ½ - 1 ounce of water per pound of body weight. So for example, if you weigh 150 pounds, aim for 75-150 ounces of water per day. If you are a chronic under-drinker, work up to your optimal amount. Pay attention to how you feel and even make notes of it. I learned for myself that if I drink too much water, I get heartburn, but if I don’t drink enough, I feel sluggish and tired. You’ll soon learn what your own body’s needs are.
It is never too late to improve your health and wellbeing, and drinking good, clean, H2O can play a huge role in that. Such a simple and inexpensive way to keep our bodies functioning properly and yet so few people actually are sufficiently hydrated.
If you struggle drinking enough, try adding slices of fruit to your water. Lemons, limes, and even berries make a delicious fresh tasting drink. Mint leaves are another great option. Get yourself a cute water bottle that’s spill proof so you can grab it and take it with you wherever you go. Mine has a straw, which makes for easy drinking, is insulated so it’s always cold, and is spill proof so I have no excuses for getting my water in for the day.
Find what works for you and get to drinking!