The human brain requires approximately 20% of our daily water intake. So drinking enough water throughout the day helps keep us functioning at peak capacity. When we become dehydrated, our bodies start to shut down certain functions, including thinking. In addition, our skin becomes dry and flaky, which just makes us look and feel worse!
Water also helps flush toxins out of the body (via urination) and supports proper digestion. Drinking plenty of water also keeps the blood flowing properly. As we age, our circulatory system slows down, which means we require more water to maintain the same flow rate.
Tips to drink water throughout the day
There are many different ways to drink more water throughout the day. Here are some tips to help you do that:
- Start each morning with a glass of warm water. By starting your day off right, you’ll have more energy and stay focused throughout the day. Add lemon juice if desired.
- Use a straw instead of sipping directly from the bottle. Straws are great for people who struggle with coordination issues or those who use motorized wheelchairs.
- Avoid caffeinated beverages and sodas unless they are consumed in small amounts. Caffeine is a diuretic, meaning it causes excessive loss of fluids. And while soda may quench your thirst initially, the sugar content can cause headaches later on. These are two reasons to limit these types of drinks.
- Invest in a quality water bottle: No one wants to drink out of a cheap, flimsy water bottle. If you have a nice water bottle, you’re more likely to take it with you on the go and drink more water throughout the day.
- Add some flavor: If plain water isn’t your thing, try adding some fresh fruit, herbs, or even cucumber slices to give it some flavor.
- Set reminders: Whether it’s setting an alarm on your phone or writing yourself a note, setting reminders can help you make sure you’re getting enough water each day.
- Try not to skip meals. Eating three square meals a day provides fuel for your body. Make sure to eat breakfast first thing in the morning to ensure you get adequate nutrition.
- Keep track of how much water you’re consuming. There are several apps available for smartphones and tablets that can help you monitor your water consumption. Apps like Fitbit and LoseIt count your steps taken and calories burned and automatically send you reminders to take care of yourself when you’ve been inactive for too long. Other apps calculate how much water you’ve been drinking and remind you to top up accordingly.
Importance of Staying Hydrated
- Hydration is essential to your body’s well being! Water is the base ingredient responsible for many bodily processes, including digestion, immune system function, hormone balance, bone density, blood pressure regulation, and heart rhythm. A healthy person requires about 2 quarts (8 cups) of water per day. In addition, drinking enough water may help reduce hunger pangs, boost weight loss efforts, regulate bowel movements and even relieve constipation. Drinking adequate amounts of water also helps prevent headaches, muscle cramps, stomachaches, kidney stones, and other less severe conditions. Water aids in the removal of wastes, toxins, and chemicals from the body, preventing buildup of those compounds that can cause harmful effects. When dehydration occurs, the body loses its ability to concentrate and focus, making concentration exercises, reading, and learning difficult. Dehydration makes you tired, irritable, and easily confused, which could lead to accidents causing injury or possible death.
- Hydration is essential for brain function. Approximately 70 percent of the human body is composed of water. Because the brain consists mainly of water, it relies heavily on proper hydration to perform properly; therefore, dehydration negatively affects cognitive abilities. Properly hydrating yourself ensures that you have optimal mental clarity throughout the day.
- Hydration is necessary for good health. Healthy people require at least 8 glasses of water daily. Your urine is approximately 5 percent water. If you urinate 4 times a day, then you are consuming 200 milliliters of water each time. If you drink only 1 glass of water per day, you could still eliminate over 100 ml of fluid.
- Hydration is critical for exercise performance, recovery and safety. Being physically active increases your chance of becoming dehydrated. Therefore, it is extremely important for athletes who engage in strenuous physical activity to consume adequate amounts of water before, during and after exercising. You can increase your chances of safely completing an event by staying properly hydrated. Another factor that contributes to a safe sport is knowing how much water to consume while participating in various activities. Knowing how much water to consume before, during and after exercise will ensure that you do not become dehydrated, yet still give your body what it needs to recover and heal.
- Hydration helps digestion. Your digestive tract contains fluids called the intestinal mucosa, which line the wall of your intestines. These fluid-filled cells make up about 80 percent of the cells lining your intestine. Fluid secreted by these cells helps move food through your digestive tract and cleanses the gut. Keeping your intestines properly lubricated prevents discomfort and promotes proper digestion.
- Hydration aids detoxification. As mentioned earlier, the liver performs some of its most important functions by filtering out toxic substances from the bloodstream. Since your liver works best when it is fully functioning, having adequate hydration will allow your body to detoxify naturally.
- Hydration boosts immunity. Drinking water can help improve the overall immunity of your body. Staying hydrated helps your body naturally eliminate the bacteria and toxins that cause infection. With the help of water, oxygen and nutrients are distributed throughout the body, and waste material is flushed out from the body. Thus, it helps keep diseases at bay.
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