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You’ve probably heard about some of the benefits of drinking more water, but do you really know why it’s so important to stay hydrated? Grab yourself a nice cool glass of H20, and let’s dive into why hydration is so important and how you can stay better hydrated without even having to think about it.
Why is it important to stay hydrated? It’s a simple question at first glance; after all, every living thing needs water just to stay alive. But, what about the benefits of drinking more water that most people don’t think about on a daily basis, or that many of us might not be aware of in the first place? You may be surprised by just how many aspects of our health and wellness are impacted by how much water we drink.
Not only are we going to talk about why hydration is important in this quick list, we’ll give you some easy tips on how to stay hydrated without having to carry around a gallon jug everywhere you go. Understanding the benefits of drinking more water is one of the easiest ways to make a real difference in your wellness, so sit back, relax, and grab a nice cool glass of the good stuff as we break it down.
This first benefit of drinking more water isn’t exactly glamorous, but it is very important. Just like we use water to clean our cars and countertops, the body uses it to clean itself through the processes of - you guessed it - urination and defecation.
The kidneys have the crucial job of ridding the body of toxic substances, which they do by expelling that waste as urine. When you aren’t properly hydrated, they can’t do that job as effectively, which can lead to problems like kidney stones. Similarly, the digestive tract needs an adequate water supply to maintain healthy stool and avoid constipation.
Many of the benefits of drinking more water actually work by offsetting the negative effects of dehydration. Research across a variety of age groups has found that even slight dehydration can negatively impact cognitive performance and increase feelings of anxiety.1 Next time you’re looking to feel sharper, try reaching for a glass of water instead of a cup of coffee!
We’ve all heard of “water weight”, but dietitians are beginning to better understand the benefits of hydration when it comes to losing weight. This exciting benefit of drinking more water is believed to work in three ways:
This last benefit of drinking more water is a godsend for those who need some help with their joints. The Arthritis Foundation goes so far as to say, “If there’s a magical elixir to drink, it’s water”. That’s because it helps fight inflammation, keeps joints lubricated, and flushes out toxins to stave off gout attacks. Water also serves to better “cushion” your joints by contributing to healthy synovial fluid, which is responsible for preventing friction.
Now that we know why it’s important to stay hydrated and what the benefits of drinking more water actually are, let’s cover some clever tricks that can help you up your water intake.
In order to know how to stay hydrated, you have to know what it actually means to be properly hydrated. There’s a dubious history behind how the old adage of 8 glasses a day became so commonly circulated, with most experts no longer following that as a guideline.
Considering all of the individual factors at play like environment, exercise levels, and overall health, there’s no magic number that applies to everyone. According to Johns Hopkins, the main signs that you’re staying well-hydrated are that you rarely feel thirsty, and that your urine is clear or slightly yellow.
Nobody said hydration has to be boring! Figuring out how to stay hydrated can and should involve finding ways to make plain old water a bit more exciting. Some easy ideas include:
That’s not to say you should start chewing ice to experience the benefits of hydration. About 20% of our daily hydration comes from the food we eat rather than what we drink. By eating more water-rich foods like spinach, zucchini, cucumber, and watermelon, you can get more nutrients and hydrate better all at once.
And don’t forget tasty foods like soups, broths, and consommes which, as you might’ve guessed, certainly aren’t lacking in water content.
Figuring out how to stay hydrated is more difficult when you don’t have a routine. It doesn’t have to be a strict, rigid schedule: it can be as simple as coordinating glasses of water with waking up and going to bed, or making a point to always drink a set amount before and after each meal.
If you want to get a little more technical, there are tons of apps and even smart water bottles that make tracking your intake a breeze. Or, if you want a little extra help that’s more low-tech, there are plenty of affordable water bottles with markings to help you visualize your progress throughout the day.