Hands-down one of the most overlooked aspects of our health and well-being is hydration. I mean; there’s a reason why our bodies can only survive up to 8 days without water, and a whole month without food…
When we’re born our bodies are approximately 78% water. Which is crazy when you think that this only leaves a mere 18% for everything else, such as our skin, bones, and vital organs. When we get older and reach adulthood, this number drops to around 60%. Which is still a lot of water! My point being that drinking plenty of fluids and keeping hydrated, plays a huge role in our health and well-being.
In fact, hydration is so important that it can have some detrimental effects if our bodies are de-hydrated for too long. Although on the other hand, it can have some essential health benefits when catered too properly. Check it out:
The benefits of drinking plenty of water:
1. Helps improve and maintain physical performance
One of the most important times to keep hydrated is during your workout. During intense exercise it’s not uncommon for athletes to lose 5-6% of their water weight through sweating. This will lead to fatigue, reduced motivation, headaches, and could even result in slower progress.
This comes as no surprise as our muscles are actually 80% water! I’ve got your attention now…
2. Helps to treat and prevent headaches
De-hydration is a common trigger of headaches and migraines. Water is also a natural remedy for treating headaches, which comes as a result of improved circulation, and therefore an improved supply of nutrients reaching the brain.
3. Aids weight loss
Weight loss is a common goal amongst many people, fortunately for us, a simple fix such as drinking more water, can have help point us in the right direction! Increased consumption of water and other fluids actually speeds up our metabolism, this then allows us to metabolize food faster, and therefore burn more fat.
4. Aids Brain function
De-hydration can have a detrimental effect our mental functioning. Studies have shown that even a slight 1-3% body weight of dehydration, can have a significant negative affect on concentration, and mood. Another similar study, this time in young men, showed that fluid loss of 1.59% was detrimental to working memory and increased feelings of anxiety and fatigue.
5. Improves energy levels
Energy plays a huge part in our day-to-day activities, and motivation. If you don’t have the energy to do something you’ll likely turn around a say ‘I can’t be arsed’. We’ve all been there. If only the solution to your lack of energy was a couple of glasses of water. And it might be just that… It comes back down to the increased supply of nutrients, and blood circulation to the brain.
6. Helps to cushion and lubricate joints
A couple posts ago, I talked about synovial fluid and it’s powers to improve our range of motion. And well; here we are again! When we exercise the synovial fluid between our bones, lubricates the joints, to prevent swelling, friction, and improve our range of motion. As you can imagine, this is particularly important when exercising. If de-hydrated, the synovial fluid between our joints may fail to function properly, as they’re primarily made up of water.
Tips to help you consume more water:
Many people fail to consume the recommended 8 glasses of water a day. This is because they either ‘forget’, or only drink when they’re thirsty. The problem with this, is that the body only tells you do drink when you’re already de-hydrated. And therefore when you feel ‘thirsty’ its already too late.
Another common misconception is that 8 glasses means 8 pints of water. Fortunately for us, 8 glasses means a mere 250ml. This is the equivalent to a can of coke or sprite. However please bear in mind that 8 glasses is an estimate, and how much water your body actually needs depends on a your age, sex, diet, and health status, as mentioned in the video below.
- Make it flavoured. A lot of people don’t like to drink water, and that’s okay. However due to its role in keeping us alive! You need to find a way around it. This can be done by drinking flavoured water, soda water, or better yet, flavouring your water with natural fruits using a specific water bottle.
- Always carry a water bottle. It’s always easier to drink more water when you have the water nearby. This is easily achievable by always taking a water bottle with you, whatever you’re doing.
- Challenge yourself. Most people are aware that they need to drink more water, however actually doing it is another matter entirely. This can be helped by challenging yourself daily to drink 8 glasses of water a day.
In conclusion we are 60% water. And therefore it only makes sense to drink plenty of fluids. Avoiding sugary drinks, and just drinking water will be much more beneficial to our health. Through drinking more water we will feel better, have more energy, are less likely to get headaches, and will perform better when working out. Don’t forget that our muscles are approximately 80% water, and therefore drinking water fuels our muscles!