H2O—The Way to Go!
Did you know that up to 75% of Americans spend their days in a state of dehydration? (1) Are you one of them?
Why is Water Important?
To say that water is important to human beings is an understatement! Most of our body weight, about 60%, is water. (2) Water is vital to many functions in the body. It helps regulate body temperature, helps maintain healthy kidney function, absorbs shock to the brain and joints, helps promote proper circulation and maintains correct blood volume. (2) This is, by no means, an exhaustive list.
Other Benefits of Getting Enough Water
If you are an athlete, water is imperative for optimal sports performance. During intense exercise, our bodies lose a lot of water through perspiration. Being well-hydrated can help improve endurance and keep fatigue at bay. It also can help lower your heart rate. (2)
Drinking enough water can also help with weight loss. Not only does water help you feel full, it also helps keep your metabolism running at peak performance. Studies show that people who embark on a diet tend to lose more weight when also increasing their water intake. (2)
Can you guess an easy way to help combat brain fog? You’ve got it. H2O. One study on water intake found that people who took in less than 1.2 liters of water per day experienced less confusion, fatigue, and sleepiness when increasing their intake to 2.5 liters per day. (2)
Do you suffer frequent headaches? Though there can be many causes of headaches, a very common cause is dehydration. Even migraines are sometimes relieved by water. (2)
As if those aren’t all reason enough to stay up on your water intake, perhaps the most compelling reason is that proper hydration can protect against many health conditions. Some of them include kidney stones, constipation, asthma, urinary tract infections, heart disease, and even some cancers. (2)
How Much is Enough?
The general guideline is to drink half your weight in ounces per day. It is best to spread this out through the day versus downing it all at once. You may require more water if you’re active and if you’re out in the summer heat. Also, if you drink diuretic beverages (containing caffeine or alcohol) you should shoot for replacing all of those ounces with water on top of your usual amount.
Some Signs of Dehydration
Your body is great at alerting you to the need for water– you just have to know what to look for. Being chronically tired is one symptom. Barring other medical explanations, you may just need more H2O. Also, you may notice that your urine is quite yellow. Again, this has to be taken in context. Some supplements and medications can cause this, too. In addition, constipation is also a common symptom of dehydration. Stool lacking proper levels of moisture can become dry, hard and difficult to pass. (1)
How to Get Enough Water in Each Day
Now to the fun part. Yes, it can be fun to get hydrated! Probably the most obvious way to get that water in is to keep a water bottle with you at all times. Or a fun cup (maybe even with a straw if you want to be extra fancy). You might even consider a marked water bottle that indicates how many ounces are left. Another way to make water consumption more appealing is to add some flavor. Preferably, this should be low-calorie or no-calorie. You can add fruit or vegetable slices to your water, for example. (3)
Now, how do you drink all that water? Have some before and after each meal and after each bathroom break. Also, eating foods high in water counts so bring on the cucumbers and watermelon! You might also consider replacing other beverages you consume regularly with old H20. Some people also find it helpful to use an app to manage their intake. There are plenty out there and many are free. (3)
Whatever you choose to drink out of each day and whichever method you choose to motivate yourself to do so, the simple investment in your health of drinking enough water daily will pay itself off and then some in no time.