You have probably heard the classic line of drinking 8 glasses of water a day, but you may be wondering ‘why is it important to stay hydrated?’
The average adult body is made up of around 60% water, and water is critical for every bodily function.
Since every body is different, and the required hydration depends on your daily activity, environment, etc., it is important to stay in tune with your body and adjust your hydration levels accordingly. This is especially true when you are doing vigorous exercise, visiting a destination at a different elevation, traveling, etc.
Why is hydration important (not only in sport)
Proper hydration can have a significant impact on your health and have you feeling a lot better than you would without adequate water intake.
Now, let’s go on to learn about the importance of hydration.
Water cleanses your body
Your body is constantly filtering out toxins and waste, and water keeps things flowing in your body. The kidney, for example, is an important organ that filters waste from the body and requires water in order to function properly. Therefore, to prevent a buildup of waste, hydration is necessary.
Water is vital to support your cardiovascular system
When you are well hydrated, your heart doesn’t have to work as hard because it can pump blood to the muscles efficiently through your blood vessels. When you are resting, your heart and cardiovascular system, in general, are working hard to keep you alive. When you add in exercise, movement, or any other stress, you want to best support your cardiovascular system so that it can function properly and not cause distress. This is why it’s important to keep hydrated especially during exercise: consuming the proper amount of water for your individual body is a vital way to do so.
Water increases your energy levels
Staying hydrated helps to reduce fatigue, especially when done so before and after vigorous exercise. Exercise has been shown to increase energy levels on its own, but when paired with proper hydration, energy levels can raise even higher.
Hydration improves cognitive performance
Many studies have found that people who have a glass of water next to them perform better. Even mild dehydration can impair cognitive function, so if you know you need to focus with all your brainpower possible sip water throughout your task. Since water helps your body function properly, even on the day-to-day your cognitive performance will be better than it would with inadequate water intake.
The importance of hydration for mood
When dealing with dehydration, many people experience headaches and/or a sluggish mood.
When properly hydrated, people report experiencing more energy, a positive mood, and feeling refreshed. It’s hard to feel motivated when you aren’t feeling well, and staying properly hydrated is an easy step in setting yourself up to feel good.
Hydration supports normal movement
With proper hydration, your joints and cartilage are kept lubricated. This helps to prevent aches, pain and inflammation.
Hydration prevents headaches
One of the most common causes of a headache is dehydration. For many people, drinking water can provide relief from a headache. So if you are prone to headaches or migraines, it is important to be extra mindful of staying hydrating.
Why hydration is important to lose weight
Weight loss efforts are made more effective when one is properly hydrated. Many studies have even shown that increasing your water intake could even help you lose more weight.
Water balances electrolytes
Electrolytes are minerals and compounds that carry the electrical energy charge for many essential bodily functions. These bodily functions include but are not limited to the production of energy, transmission of nerve impulses as well as muscle contractions. You have probably heard of the importance of replenishing electrolytes are a vigorous workout because of the energy and electrolytes that are lost through sweating and intense exercise. This is why hydration is important in sport: many studies show that eating a healthy diet and staying hydrated is plenty to balance electrolyte levels and ‘recharge’ your system.
Hydration is important to protect against disease
Proper water intake may protect against a number of diseases, including: coronary heart disease, urinary tract infections, kidney stones, digestive troubles, and more.
Dehydration takes a toll on your body
When you are dehydrated, your blood can be too thick (which could potentially lead to heart disease and stroke), your metabolism can slow down, your energy and fat burning functions can be significantly challenged, and your body could have trouble regulating its temperature. If you are dehydrated for a long time, the health effects could be even more extreme.
These are only a few of the reasons why hydration is important, so be sure to be mindful of your water intake every day. One way that you can up your water intake and be consistent is to carry a reusable water bottle with you everywhere, or add in some fresh mint or cucumber to your water if you have a hard time drinking plain water. You could also incorporate more watermelon, cucumber, herbal tea into your diet and reduce your caffeine intake.
If you are continuously feeling dehydrated speak with your doctor, as there could be underlying causes for chronic dehydration.