Did you know that you’re a walking water balloon? You have some organs in there too, but without water, none of those organs would be able to function.
Which is why most of us know that we need to drink water to stay alive, but many of us could also stand to drink more water every day. “A lot” of water, we know, seems like too vague a valuation. How much water is “enough” for me? This depends on many factors, including height, weight, age, activity level, sex, health conditions, environment, and more. A person who trains for marathons has a different necessity level than the casual lunchtime walking buddies. People who have kidney or liver issues and pregnant women will want to consult with their doctor to determine the exact amount of daily water intake since too much water might actually do damage in these cases. You can check this handy calculator to gauge your magic water number after learning these top 15 benefits of drinking more water in your daily routine.
There are a ton of reasons to drink plenty of water, but let’s start with 15 big ones for now.
Keep your little grey cells (BRAIN) hydrated
Your body is made up of about 60% water, but your brain is made up of more like 73% water. Here are the reasons why you want to keep that circuit board well-hydrated.
1. Water turns your brain into a POWERLIFTER
Cognitive performance. What’s that?
Let’s start with cognitive abilities. These are the actions our brain takes to complete tasks. They refer to how we learn, our problem-solving skills, and our attention span. A recent study of student athletes showed that even a small amount of dehydration caused impairment of cognitive performance. Tasks of executive function, attention, and motor coordination were significantly impaired, and attention/motor coordination was different for reaction time in specific tasks. The study shows us that it only takes a 2% dip in hydration levels to slow down our brain and all of its imperative functions.
2. Change your relationship with migraines
The Handbook for Clinical Neurology published a study that showed just 4 cups above normal daily water intake for people who suffer from migraines resulted in 21 fewer hours of pain. Although more studies are needed to link the frequency of headaches and dehydration, there is evidence that water lessens the duration and intensity of headaches and migraines.
3. A hydrated brain equals better moods, better memory, and less pain
Have you heard low blood sugar turns you into a cranky beast? Studies also show a correlation between dehydration and degraded mood. The evidence shows an increased perception of task difficulty, lower concentration, and headache symptoms resulted from losing just 0.16% in body mass of water.
Have you ever wandered into a room only to wonder why you were there? Dehydration interrupts short-term memory making. Mild dehydration in men induced adverse changes in vigilance, working memory, and caused increased tension/anxiety and fatigue, according to a study focusing on dehydration.
And your sensory pain centers go haywire without water. A Japanese study shows that we (on average) experience heightened pain in a dehydrated state.
Water is your body’s secret ally (or enemy)
Everything you put in your body has an effect on how it operates. The food we eat is critical, but drinking water can make or break it for your body. Why? Let’s dive in to see.
4. Your best you
Get to your peak physical performance. Ever cut a workout short because you felt too hot? Or needed a break to catch your breath? You might have been dehydrated. Water plumps the cells in our lungs and serves as lubrication in our joints and muscles. That makes it easier to challenge yourself in a workout and stay the course without taking a break. A study on the hydration of collegiate athletes showed that, when followed, tailored hydration plans that took into account water and sodium loss resulted in improved anaerobic power, attention, awareness, and heart rate recovery time.
5. Deucin’ like clockwork - there, we said it
Let’s be open—water helps promote saliva which has the enzymes needed to help break down nutrients and rid your body of the waste it no longer needs. When you have a digestive system in tip-top condition, what you consume gets sorted to different parts of the body. Nutrients like vitamins and minerals head off on their way, soluble fiber takes what’s left over with it, and boom (hopefully not so ‘boom’)! Let’s just say water helps save the day all the way through to the digestive tract.
6. There is no need for a second round of kidney stones
Evidence shows that those nasty little clumps of mineral crystals we call kidney stones are less likely to form, especially for a second time around, when we drink enough water. Regular urination helps to dissolve the mineral salts stored in our bodies. Drinking more water helps flush out excess salts and helps avoid the development of painful kidney stones.
7. An immunity boost made simple
What is lymph? Sounds terrible! Actually, it’s a fluid in our bodies that contains white blood cells. It gets nutrients to our blood cells, and it takes those blood cells on a ride all over our bodies. If we don’t have enough water to hydrate our cells the system breaks down, and white blood cells aren’t free to move quickly to the places in our bodies that need to fight bacterial and viral infections.
8. Water is a hug to your heart
Heart disease is no joke. A study on coronary heart disease found that “the clearest and most consistent association with fatal coronary heart disease was found with water intake.” Stack the heart-healthy odds in your favor by stacking those daily cups of water.
9. Benefits of hydrating always come back-atcha
Once again, water to the rescue. It sneaks into cells all over your body and provides not only lubrication but also plumps cells that relieve joint and spinal disc pressure. It has been proven that discs that lack enough water for cushioning put a strain on the spine. Dehydrated discs result in swelling, pain, and discomfort. The simple solution? Trade in your heating pad for a tall glass of water.
10. Not just a band: 98.6 is your body’s regulated temp, thanks to water
Water is a great temperature regulator. It buffers against outside heat before rising in temperature.
Besides, sweat, whether we like it or not, is Mother Nature’s cooling system, especially after a workout. We lose water and sodium through sweat, and we need to make sure we are replenishing the correct levels for our bodies to maintain the right temperature, 98.6.
Your body, that beast!
And, of course, there are all the lesser-known, everyday benefits of drinking a lot of water.
11. Quell the hangover
Let’s be honest, sometimes, we might overdo the alcohol intake. While water won’t “cure” a hangover, it can help with myriad side effects. Because remember— not only are you consuming a lot of toxins, but alcohol is also a diuretic which makes the kidneys skimp on the amount of water they absorb. Double whammy. The cure: hydrate, hydrate, hydrate.
12. Drop the LBs
Did you join a weight loss challenge as an NYE resolution? Do you want to shed a few pounds on your own? Water will not only help you feel full but also keeps your body in working order as you introduce diet changes (like extra fiber). With water on your side, you stand a real chance of making changes to your body and dietary habits that result in burning fat, reducing calorie intake, suppressing your appetite, and burning calories. Whatever the goal is when it comes to weight loss, there’s no separating water from your best results.
13. Flush those toxins
Your body flushes toxins every day through perspiration and respiration, through your kidneys, and through your liver. The more water you drink, the easier you make it for these systems to do their jobs.
14. Baby soft skin
Our skin, the largest organ of our bodies, needs water to stay supple. We are right back to all those cells that water powers up every day. Think of your skin like the desert floor. When it is too dry, the mud dries and shrinks, leaving huge cracks in the topsoil. Drink water and avoid the cracks.
15. Hold that stank breath
Water helps keep stinky breath at bay. Two reasons. One, water hydrates your mouth, and that helps reduce the probability of having dry mouth which is a breeding ground for bacteria growth. Two, drinking water flushes food and beverage particles that might be stuck in your mouth, which also cuts bacteria growth. Help fight the funk by drinking more water.
Water, Your Super Beverage
We know what you’re thinking. Is all water good?
That’s a whole other topic that we discuss here. Just know that you need to be drinking more water, and your water should never come from a single-use plastic bottle if you can help it. Like never, ever, because it negates many of these benefits. Researchers are only beginning to uncover the looming health crisis caused by single-use plastic water bottles, never mind the environmental impact single-use water bottles impose on the Earth. So, if you’re caught in a reusable water bottle jam and have to purchase one from the store, try PATH’s locally and responsibly sourced reusable aluminum bottle. Otherwise, remember to bring that reusable one that mom got you. Whatever you do, stay hydrated, think REUSABLE, and #refillnotlandfill!