What Makes Water So Important?
By: Stephanie Ruopp
We all know how important it is to get enough sleep.
But in the past few decades, we’ve also been frequently told how important it is to hydrate. Before that though, the term “hydrate” was almost unheard of.
So what changed? What makes water so important?
Well, it’s always been important. There just wasn’t much talk about it. But not only does it make up the majority of your body weight, it’s also crucial for nearly every function of your body.
Here’s What Makes Water So Important
Chances are, you know how important water is when you’re exercising. During an intense workout, you can burn 6-10% of your body weight so it’s vital that you replace it.
Staying hydrated also improves strength, power, and endurance during exercise. Furthermore, you don’t want to get dehydrated while exercising as it can lead to serious medical conditions.
Of course, we know now that it’s equally important to stay hydrated beyond exercise. It helps the body in the following ways:
1. Activating Metabolism
It’s possible you’ve heard people say that if you’re hungry, try drinking water first. It may be that you’re actually thirsty.
It’s good advice.
Drinking water can boost your metabolic rate by up to 30%. With a boost in metabolism comes increased energy. So if you’re dieting, drinking water should be at the top of your “to-do” list.
2. Boosting Cognitive Function
The brain is only one of the many organs that require water to perform at their optimal. As such, staying hydrated leads to improved focus, alertness and short-term memory.
On the flip side, dehydration can cause fatigue, confusion, and anxiety. So not getting enough water can negatively impact your mood.
3. Protecting Tissues, Joints, and Spinal Cord
The body is well-equipped to produce fluid for the tissues, spinal cord, and joints. Even so, getting enough water helps to provide further lubrication and cushioning.
All of this also equates to less discomfort during movement for those who struggle with conditions such as arthritis.
4. Regulating Body Temperature
When your body loses water through sweating, it serves as a cooling mechanism. It’s a great design. The problem is, the body also loses electrolytes and plasma in that water.
If the lost water isn’t replenished, your body temperature will rise. So it’s important to replenish the body of any lost water from sweating.
5. Producing Saliva
If you’re not getting enough water, your body may slow down its production of saliva. Aside from keeping the mouth healthy, the enzymes, electrolytes, and mucus in saliva are essential for breaking down food too.
6. Aiding in Digestion
You can help that saliva along by drinking water before, during, and after a meal. This will help break down and dissolve the food more easily so that you get the most from the vitamins, minerals, and nutrients in that food.
7. Preventing Constipation
Aside from eating fiber, a powerful way to prevent constipation is by maintaining your water intake. If your bowel movements don’t contain enough water, it is more difficult to move them out of the body.
Even plain carbonated water can help with this process – along with bringing relief to those who are already constipated.
8. Excreting Waste
You may not want to think about it, but the body excretes sweat, urination, and feces. In all three cases, water is lost and must be replenished to keep these systems working effectively.
In the case of urination, enough water is especially important. The kidneys filter out waste through urination and proper water intake will keep them working more effectively while preventing kidney stones.
9. Improving Circulation
Drinking enough water will help to facilitate the movement of nutrients and oxygen throughout the body through the circulatory system. As such, you’ll have improved circulation which will result in better overall health.
10. Promoting Collagen Production
While dousing your skin eternally with water tends to dry it out, adequate water intake keeps your skin hydrated from the inside and could promote collagen production. More collagen production means more elasticity in your skin and a more youthful appearance.
What’s Considered Enough Water?
According to the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, men should be consuming about 15.5 cups of water (125 ounces) each day, while women need about 11.5 cups (91 ounces) daily.
You generally get around 20% of your daily water intake from food. The other 80% is achieved through drinking water or water-based beverages such as unsweetened tea. That means a woman needs a little over 2 liters of water from beverages, while men need around 3 liters.
These numbers will be higher if you exercise a lot or live in a hotter region.
One of the tell-tale signs that you’re dehydrated is dark urine. So aim to drink enough water so that your urine is pale or almost clear. Then you’ll know you’re getting enough.
Drink to Your Good Health!
If you didn’t already know what makes water so important, now you have a deeper understanding of how crucial it is to your overall health.
So drink up!
And to find out more about how you can optimize your health through Pilates, GYROTONIC®, and physical therapy, contact us today. We’ll help you find your best you.