The body is made up of 60% water. You lose water whenever you sweat, go to the bathroom, even when you breathe. Moreover, you lose water faster when the weather is hot, if you have a fever, or when you’re physically active. If you do not replace the water you lost, you can become dehydrated. Water is important in maintaining the normal function of organs and systems in your body, including your muscles, brain, and heart. In this article, you’ll learn more about the importance of hydration.
10 Reasons Why Hydration is Important
1. Flushes toxins
While the kidneys naturally filter wastes from the body, they need adequate water intake to function properly. When your body is dehydrated, elimination of wastes is diminished. Kidney function may be affected, causing toxins to build up in the body. The kidneys need water to filter wastes from the blood and excrete it in the urine. Keeping hydrated also helps prevent constipation, kidney stones, and urinary tract infections.
2. Good for the heart
When arteries become narrowed and blocked with plaque and cholesterol, the risk of a heart attack increases. An American Journal of Epidemiology study found that drinking more water has been associated with a reduced risk of coronary heart disease.
Conversely, dehydration lowers blood volume, making the heart work harder to pump the reduced amount of blood and send oxygen to your cells. This can make activities like climbing stairs and exercise more difficult.
3. Helps maximize physical performance
Physical performance can suffer if you are not well hydrated. This is especially true during intense exercise or when the temperature in the environment is high. There’s a noticeable effect if you lose as little as 2% of your body’s water content. This can result in altered body temperature control, increased fatigue, and can make exercise more difficult, both physically and mentally.
Optimal hydration can prevent this from happening and can also reduce the oxidative stress that occurs during high-intensity exercise. Muscle is almost 80% water. If you exercise intensely and sweat heavily, staying hydrated can help you perform at your absolute best.
4. Keeps your body cool
Another importance of hydration is keeping your body cool. The body releases heat by expanding blood vessels close to the surface of the skin, leading to increased blood flow and more heat dissipated into the air. This is why the face gets red during exercise. But when you are dehydrated, it takes a higher temperature to make blood vessels widen, so you stay hotter.
5. Good for muscle and joint health
When you are well hydrated, the water inside and outside the contracting muscle cells provides nutrients and removes wastes, so you perform better. Water also helps lubricate joints. Proper hydration helps prevent joint diseases since water promotes cartilage health and reduces inflammation.
6. Improves mood
Dehydration can cause headaches and make you irritable. Even mild dehydration has a negative effect on mood. A glass of water can help prevent headaches and promote a sense of refreshment that can naturally improve mood as well.
7. Increases energy levels
Replacing lost fluids is especially important after vigorous exercise. Studies have found that hydration before, during, and after exercise not only reduces fatigue, but also improves endurance. When you’re properly hydrated, energy levels can rise.
8. Boosts cognitive functioning
Instead of eating a sugary snack to get a mental boost, try drinking a glass of water instead. A study published in the Frontiers in Human Neuroscience found that drinking water may enhance brain function. Participants who drank water performed better and faster on a series of cognitive tasks, compared to those who did not.
9. Improves skin complexion
Like all cells, skin cells are made up of water. If your skin isn’t receiving adequate hydration, it will appear tight, dry, and flaky. It will be less elastic. Fine wrinkles will also be more pronounced. So drink plenty of water if you want glowing, radiant skin.
10. Promotes weight loss
Drinking lots of water may help you lose weight. This is because water can boost your metabolic rate as well as increase satiety (make you feel full). According to studies published in the journal Obesity, dieters who increased their water consumption lost more weight than those who did not. This may be because thirst is often disguised as hunger.
How Much Water Should You Drink Each Day?
Health authorities recommended drinking eight 8-ounce glasses of water each day. This is known as the 8×8 rule and is easy to remember. That said, different people may need different amounts of water to keep hydrated, depending on factors such as physical activity and the weather.
Most people can stay well hydrated by drinking water and other fluids on a regular basis, before they feel thirsty. If you’re concerned that your water intake is not enough, check your urine. If it is colorless or light yellow, then you are well hydrated. But if your urine is dark yellow or amber in color, you may be dehydrated and need to drink more water.
Symptoms of Dehydration
• Extreme thirst
• Dry mouth
• Little or no urine
• Urine is darker than usual
• Dizziness or lightheadedness
• No tears when crying
Ways to Get Hydrated
It is best to drink water for hydration. Water can also be found in fruits and vegetables. Other drinks and foods can also help you stay hydrated. The disadvantage is that some of them may add extra calories and sugar to your diet. For example, fruit juices, milk, and tea add to the amount of water you receive each day. Even caffeinated drinks (coffee or soda) can add to your daily water intake. However, caffeine may cause you to urinate more frequently and make you feel anxious or jittery.
Sports drinks are often consumed while doing high-intensity exercise. They contain electrolytes and carbohydrates that can boost energy. They may also help your body absorb water. But some sports drinks are high in calories and contain added sugar. These type of drinks may also contain high levels of sodium. Some contain caffeine, too.
Another type of drink is energy drinks. They differ from sports drinks in the sense that they contain large amounts of caffeine. Additionally, they contain ingredients that have a stimulating effect (e.g., guarana, ginseng, or taurine). Most energy drinks are high in added sugar, too.
Your body needs water to survive. Every cell and organ in the body needs water to work properly. The importance of hydration cannot be underestimated. The body uses water to keep the heart, brain, and muscles functioning properly. Water is also important for lubricating joints, removing waste, maintaining optimal temperature, and transporting nutrients to the cells in your body. Simply put, water is needed for overall health. To prevent dehydration, drink adequate amounts of water every day.
Want to get fit and healthy? Sign up to FITin56. You’ll gain access to exercise and workout videos, a nutrition plan, plus health and fitness tips!