For the first “blog” for Studio 22 Fitness, I racked my brain for a good topic to write about. It has been quite a hot summer and it made me think about hydrating yourself properly to help you beat the heat. Water is super important to the body for many reasons, so I decided on Drinking Water as the first topic and started researching it. This is what I found:
Water is the most essential element to human life.
Our bodies are about 60% water, and we use that water to help with essential bodily functions. Water helps:
- Maintain blood pressure
- Deliver oxygen throughout the body
- Regulate body temperature
- Regulate the digestive system
- Asthma and allergies
- Makes minerals and nutrients accessible
- Lubricate the joints
- Form saliva and mucus
- Flush body waste
- Prevent kidney damage
- Cushion the brain, spinal cord, and other sensitive tissues
It is quite clear that water is very important to our bodies just based on this list alone. But that is not all that water can do for us when we drink enough of it.
Benefits of Drinking Water:
- Helps to Maximize Physical Performance
Our mental and physical performance will tend to suffer if we do not stay properly hydrated. This is even more evident during exercise.
Healthline says “Dehydration can have a noticeable effect if you lose as little as 2% of your body's water content. However, it is not uncommon for athletes to lose up to 6-10% of their water weight via sweat. This can lead to altered body temperature control, reduced motivation, increased fatigue and make exercise feel much more difficult, both physically and mentally.”
To make sure our body and brain stays functioning at a high level, it needs to be properly nourished and hydrated.
- Can Help with Weight Loss
Believe it or not, drinking water may help you lose weight.
Drinking water can help boost your metabolism, reduce your feelings of hunger, and help control calories. “Preloading” with water before meals can help prevent overeating. Also, if you drink water instead of a high calorie, or sugary drink, then you will most likely cut down your calorie totals, which in turn cuts some pounds out.
Healthline had some extra helpful information:
In two studies, drinking half a liter (17 ounces) of water was shown to increase metabolism by 24-30% for up to 1.5 hours.
This means that drinking 2 liters of water every day can increase your total energy expenditure by up to 96 calories per day.
The timing is important too, and drinking water half an hour before meals is the most effective. It can make you feel more full, so that you eat fewer calories.
In one study, dieters who drank half a liter of water before meals lost 44% more weight, over a period of 12 weeks.
It is actually best to drink water cold, because then the body will use additional energy (calories) to heat the water to body temperature. (Joe Leech, 2017)
To go even further, WebMD gave some advice; “Food with high water content tends to look larger, its higher volume requires more chewing, and it is absorbed more slowly by the body, which helps you feel full. Water-rich foods include fruits, vegetables, broth-based soups, oatmeal, and beans.”
- Has Positive Effects on Energy Levels and Brain Function
As you can probably assume by now, drinking proper amounts of water and staying hydrated plays a big role in one of the most important organs in your body, the brain.
Some of you have maybe heard that drinking more water may help boost energy levels, but it doesn’t stop there.
“Studies show that even mild dehydration (1-3% of body weight) can impair many aspects of brain function.
In a study of young women, fluid loss of 1.36% after exercise impaired both mood and concentration, and increased the frequency of headaches.
Another similar study, this time in young men, showed that fluid loss of 1.59% was detrimental to working memory and increased feelings of anxiety and fatigue.
A 1-3% fluid loss equals about 1.5-4.5 lbs (0.5-2 kg) of body weight loss for a 150 lbs (68 kg) person. This can easily occur through normal daily activities, let alone during exercise or high heat.
Many other studies, ranging from children to the elderly, have shown that mild dehydration can impair mood, memory and brain performance. (Healthline)”
- May Help to Prevent or Treat Headaches, and Helps Prevent Hangovers
For some people, headaches and migraines are can be a product of dehydration. Healthline states that “Several studies have shown that water can relieve headaches in those who are dehydrated.” But it does depend on the type of headache you are experiencing. It was also stated that “One study of 18 people found that water had no effect on the frequency of headaches, but did reduce the intensity and duration somewhat.”
Consuming too much alcohol can lead to a hangover, which is not a very pleasant. “Alcohol is a diuretic, so it makes you lose more water than you take in. This can lead to dehydration.” Dehydration is not the main cause though, but drinking enough water before consuming alcohol, between alcoholic drinks, and after you are done drinking alcohol for the night may will greatly help your chance of not having a hangover.
- Helps Keep Skin Looking Good, Healthy, Not Wrinkly
If you are scared of having wrinkles in the future, then water may just help with that too.
Being properly hydrated can help keep your skin hydrated, instead of dried out, which can lead to wrinkles.
“Your skin contains plenty of water, and functions as a protective barrier to prevent excess fluid loss. But don't expect over-hydration to erase wrinkles or fine lines, says Atlanta dermatologist Kenneth Ellner, MD.
‘Dehydration makes your skin look more dry and wrinkled, which can be improved with proper hydration,’ he says. ‘But once you are adequately hydrated, the kidneys take over and excrete excess fluids.’ (WebMD)"
Clearly, water is vital to our lives and health.
We lose water many different ways throughout the day, so we have to make sure we get enough.
So how much water should we be drinking? That’s not quite clear. For years the general guideline for water consumption as told by most doctors is eight glass of 8 ounces each day. The 8x8 rule. This clearly may not be enough for some people or some days. Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson recently stated that he drinks 4 gallons of water a day. FOUR GALLONS! But he works out numerous hours per day and is extremely busy so he burns more calories and uses more water.
For as important as it is to hydrate yourself, it is just as important to not over-hydrate.
Water can be a great thing for your body, and is necessary for proper health. But too much can be a fatal mistake. Drinking too much water can dilute the salt and electrolytes in your body leading to water intoxication.
Today, many athletes are told by their coaches to “hydrate, hydrate, hydrate” after long, hot practices. This is very true, as some people need to push more liquids through their bodies in order to recover from double sessions, or a hard practice. But some athletes have taken this too literal and drink too much water, and die. Zyrees Oliver died in Georgia after football practice because he drank too much water. Oliver had been experiencing cramps during practice so he drank around 2 gallons of water, and another 2 gallons of Gatorade. When he got home after practice he passed out, was rushed to the hospital where he later died. It is very rare for someone to die from over-hydration, but it is important to keep in mind not to drink an excessive amount of fluids.
Now doctors and people in the medical field recommend drinking just enough water. Only drink when you are thirsty, and if your urine is clear, you are at a proper hydration level.
This week, try and figure out how much you drink in a day, and if it’s not too much, see if you can drink a little more. Find that healthy balance of water intake for yourself.
Since I am not a doctor, nutritionist, or research scientist, I did not know all of this information and researched the topic. Everything I have written about stems from these articles. Each article listed and referred to has extra information and details within its original article. The articles are: