Drinking more water is something so simple that we can add to our daily routine, and it is one of the most important factors in achieving and maintaining good health. There are many benefits to drinking water, as it supports and contributes to a variety of aspects, from our physical performance to brain functions and more. It’s commonly recommended that we drink eight-8 ounce glasses (64 ounces total) of water each day. By adhering to this recommendation, we can achieve optimal hydration and stay feeling replenished.
Here’s some insight into how drinking water affects our bodies and the importance of developing good water drinking habits.
Benefits of Drinking Water
Enhances Physical Performance
When our bodies are dehydrated, it’s challenging to keep up with physical activities like exercise and even small tasks such as walking and driving. This decline in alertness and physical performance occurs due to increasing levels of fatigue, where you may feel physically tired, unmotivated and incapable of performing to the best of your ability. Feelings of fatigue may come from dehydration.
For those of us who partake in rigorous physical activity, it’s common for us to lose anywhere from 6-10% of water weight via sweat, and symptoms of dehydration can be felt after losing as little as 2%. By simply drinking water consistently, we stay hydrated, replenish our body’s water content, and prevent our physical performance from suffering.
Supports Brain Functions and Energy Levels
Hydration levels directly affect our brain functions and energy levels. It has been documented that when dehydrated, some women experience migraines and impaired mood and concentration abilities while some men experience impaired memory and increased feelings of anxiety and fatigue. By drinking water, we can reverse these dehydration effects and keep our brains functioning and our energy at optimal levels.
Supports Digestion and Weight Loss
While dehydration can cause constipation, sufficient hydration does the opposite — it supports a healthy digestive system. For this reason, drinking lots of water may also boost our metabolic rates and help us lose weight. Studies have shown that people experience more success with weight loss by drinking half a liter of water before eating meals. This helps us feel full so that we eat fewer calories. It also enhances the ability of our digestive system to function. When our bodies can properly digest food, can better manage our weight.
Benefits of Alkaline Water
While drinking some water is better than drinking no water at all, there is research that suggests it may be good to consume alkaline water with high pH levels. This type of water is said to be purer and contains electrolytes that are helpful for people who suffer from conditions such as digestive disorders, cancer, diabetes and high blood pressure. If you do not have one of these conditions, you should limit your intake of alkaline water to avoid an excess of alkalinity in the body. Please note, more research is needed to advocate for alkaline water!
Tips on Developing Good Water Drinking Habits
Now that you know some of the benefits of drinking water, it’s time to start considering ways to develop good water drinking habits. There are a variety of ways to enhance your water drinking experience and get the most out of your hydration efforts. Since it’s something you’ll be doing frequently, it’s good to get creative with it so that you can learn to love the process!
Add Fruit to Water
Adding citrus fruits to water can be an approach that’s both delicious and healthy! If you’d like to add some flavor to your glass, I suggest using fresh fruit rather than powdered or liquid sugar packets. Fruits such as lemons, limes, grapefruits, and oranges as well as vegetables like cucumbers have great health benefits including being a source of Vitamin C and can improve your skin.
Document Your Daily Progress
Sometimes the best way to stay motivated to keep up with our water drinking is to document our progress throughout the day. We should have fun with it, whether we choose to download an app designed for water drinking (like Daily Water or Hydro Diary), share our progress with family and friends via Facebook or Instagram stories to encourage them to join us, or design a weekly chart ourselves. While maintaining and achieving good water drinking habits is a serious task, it can become something that we are passionate about.
Replace Other Drinks With Water
A good way to ensure we are drinking water daily is to drink water every time we eat. Replacing the juices and sodas that we tend to drink during meals with water will give us at least three of our eight recommended daily glasses. This will help us get into the habit of drinking more water and choosing it over alternatives that aren’t as healthy for us to consume. For times when we do choose to drink non-water beverages, it also helps to drink a glass of water each time!
Carry a Bottle of Water
By carrying a bottle of water with us throughout the day, we help ourselves to stay consistently hydrated. Taking small sips of water adds consistently throughout the day adds up, and it’s best to drink it before we get thirsty. (Tip: Being thirsty is a sign that we’re already approaching dehydration.)
Are you ready to start developing some good water drinking habits? Share your journey on social media with the hashtag #NutritionWithDimple.