The Benefits of Drinking More Water

We can all agree that Buffalo has been blessed with an extremely beautiful, sunny, and HOT summer. With the summer going down as one of the hottest on record, it is important you are staying cool and properly hydrated. Luckily, our body has a built in system to keep cool: our ability to sweat. The perspiration from our skin evaporates, regulating our temperature. In return we have to replenish the loss of fluids by drinking more water. Ask yourself, do you drink enough water throughout the day?

The golden rule is to drink eight glasses (64 ounces) of water a day. However, every individual is different regarding their body weight, height, and activity levels. A more specific recommendation is to consume half of your body weight in ounces a day. If you weigh 160 pounds, you should be striving to drink 80 ounces of water a day. If you are participating in strenuous exercise or experience excessive perspiration due to heat, you may want to increase your intake to avoid dehydration. There is such a thing as TOO MUCH water. Drinking regular amounts throughout the day and avoiding excessive consumption in a short period of time is optimal.

What is dehydration?

Dehydration as a condition that occurs when the loss of body fluids, mostly water, exceeds the amount that is taken in. The first sign of dehydration is thirst. That’s right, by the time you realize you are thirsty you are already dehydrated! As dehydration progresses it can lead to symptoms such as lethargy, weakness, fatigue, dry mouth, confusion or fogginess, dizziness, and potentially fainting.

Although it is even more critical to be drinking water in this weather, drinking water is something that is crucial every day of our lives. While drinking enough fluids seems like a simple task, in our hectic lives it can be easy to forget. I too am guilty of this. Some mornings I start work at seven am and by the time lunch comes around at one pm I realize that I have yet to take a sip of water. Proper hydration effects nearly all of our body systems.

Benefits of drinking more

1. Increased energy. Water aids in blood flow; allowing blood to properly deliver essential nutrients and oxygen to cells and organs. This energy delivery will make sure all of our organs can do their jobs. Try drinking a glass of water when you are feeling fatigued and sluggish to give you a little boost.
2. Improved muscle performance. Do you experience cramping during exercise or following increased activity? When muscles are not properly hydrated muscle cramping and muscle fatigue can occur. A hydrated muscle is more likely to work at an optimal level, allowing you to participate in your daily and recreational activities for longer periods of time with ease.
3. Healthy Kidneys. Our kidneys filter out waste and toxins in our body and excretes them through urination. Our kidneys need adequate amounts of water to help with filtration. If fluid levels are low the filtration system slows down, which can allow for a backup waste product (1).
4. Digestive regularity. Digestion issues can be problematic and uncomfortable for anyone to deal with. Think of water as lubrication, it keeps everything flowing with ease. Chronic dehydration (especially in the elderly) has been linked to constipation, abdominal bloating, and cramping (2).
5. Weight loss. Drinking water throughout the day can help keep your metabolism going. One study found that drinking about two glass of water increases metabolic rate by 30 percent in healthy men and women (3). Drinking a glass of cold water in the morning helps start your metabolism for the day. Also having a glass or two before any meal can help fill you up, reducing the likelihood of over eating.

Getting the right amount of water for you a day can be challenging. It starts by increasing your awareness and understanding the importance of staying hydrated. I recommend always keeping water with you. Seeing the bottle can remind you to drink more. This may sound strange; however finding a bottle which you like drinking makes you more likely to take regular sips. Lastly, try adding flavor to your water to keep you from getting bored of the taste. My “go to” is lemon slices or cucumbers to give it a crisp and refreshing taste. If you like sweeter beverages, try infusing with berries (fresh or frozen) and that usually does the trick!

References
1. Kaneko, Jiro, John Harvey, and Michael Bruss. “Chapter 17/ Renal Function.”Clinical Biochemistry of Domestic Animals. 5th ed. N.p.: Acedemic, 1997. N. pag. Print.
2. Arnaud, M. J. “Mild Dehydration: A Risk Factor of Constipation?” European Journal of Clinical Nutrition 57.2 (2003): n. pag. Web.
3. Michael Boschmann, Jochen Steiniger, Uta Hille, Jens Tank, Frauke Adams, Arya M. Sharma, Susanne Klaus, Friedrich C. Luft, and Jens Jordan. “Water Induced Thermogensis.” The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism. 2011; 88 (12). DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1210/jc.2003-030780

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