We live in a world where access to water is essential, although it is often taken for granted. The excessive ways of the modern world can be wasteful, and having access to more food and coffee chains than ever before has allowed a lot of people to lose sight of their daily water intake.
That is why most people aren’t aware of how little they might be drinking each day, and that it can be why they are more tired, irritable, or less focused.
This guide covers everything you need to know about hydration, and why you should take the time to figure out what encourages you to drink more water. Try to create healthier habits today and see how beneficial it can be to you and your energy levels.
There has been a great deal of research into the effects that dehydration can have on our bodies. From brain fog and fatigue that can limit confidence and outlook on life, to stress management and even muscle function that can be affected by not drinking enough water on a regular basis.
A lot of people might not know that they aren’t getting enough water, and would benefit from focusing their energy on finding new ways to create better hydration habits. It can improve cognitive function, muscle performance during workouts, and help you to create healthier habits surrounding food cravings.
Water makes up a large percentage of our bodies, two thirds to be exact, so keeping hydrated and drinking enough to replenish the body’s losses throughout the day is vital in keeping a healthy body and mind. While the human body can go for a considerable amount of time without food, the body cannot last any longer than a few days without water or a form of hydration.
It’s a startling fact that up to three quarters of Americans go about their daily lives dehydrated, which on a short-term scale is not too much of a problem, but when this goes unnoticed for a prolonged period of time, it can begin to take a toll and eventually lead to chronic health conditions.
There are a lot of benefits that come with increasing your daily water intake, including improved temperature regulation, better skin, improved metabolism and even achieve a better outlook on life. Some people are more likely to be dehydrated than others, depending on diet, medical conditions, and lifestyle.
If you eat more salty or sugary foods, or have a kidney infection then it is even more important that you take the time to work on your hydration habits, and continue to maintain proper bodily functioning. Try to make water more appealing to you by getting a new water bottle or adding small ice cubes.
There are other ways to hydrate, including certain fruits, vegetables, and even some herbal teas if you aren’t a fan of the plain taste of water. Other options have been explored below.
In this essential guide we will take a look at the importance of hydration, how to stay hydrated, its benefits, and some useful tips to incorporate into your daily routine. This is important for someone who consumes more sugar or caffeine than the average person, because they might not realize that their brain and body can be functioning better.
People who work out a lot will also benefit from working on getting hydrated, so that they can establish faster recovery periods and reach new personal records. Whether you enjoy strength training, or cardio, there are a lot of benefits that correct hydration can have on your muscle performance.
What Is Hydration?
Hydration is the process of replacing body fluids that are lost through sweating, exhaling and eliminating waste. Keeping hydrated is one of the most important aspects contributing towards living a healthy life.
Drinking the right amount of water every day can help the body to keep joints lubricated, and regulate body temperature. In turn, hydrating the body can improve sleep quality, cognition, and mood.
If you for whatever reason do not keep enough fluids in your system you may become dehydrated, which comes with a host of telling symptoms: Rapid pulse, confusion and brain fog, headaches and muscle cramps.
If you do ever experience any of these, be sure to hydrate as soon as possible and maintain their recommended daily amount thereafter. Another sign you may be becoming dehydrated is through the color of your urine, if it becomes too dark or more yellow/ golden than clear, you should get hydrated.
There are other methods to keeping hydrated other than drinking glasses of water if that seems like a daunting prospect. Other drinks such as diluted squash, teas, coffees and juice drinks include a lot of water, and will help you maintain a good amount in your system.
It’s good to also keep in mind that you should not rely on caffeinated drinks to keep your water levels up, caffeine can cause you to urinate more and therefore lose water from your body.
Also, some foods also contain water that will contribute to your hydration, such as lettuce, cucumber and other veg, along with fruits as all are mostly made of water, so that could be another useful way to keep you hydrated.
Hydration is often something that is overlooked within the modern world, and it can be highly beneficial to actively find ways of consuming more water. Not only can correct hydration improve your body’s functioning because of the improved rate of cell regeneration and tissue repair, but it can allow the body to fight off infections much easier.
This means that by hydrating properly, you are less likely to become sick and when you do, you won’t feel unwell for as long as you would have previously. Hydration has an enormous effect on the body and brain, and it is frequently underestimated in terms of the power it can have.
Why Is Hydration So Important?
Water has a key function in our bodies, without the right amount, many of the body’s daily functions and systems may not work at their optimum level. Keeping hydrated is important to keep your body functioning, without proper hydration you will begin to notice issues that range from issues with your mood to achy joins and pains.
Water is a prominent ingredient in our blood which supplies the body with oxygen and nutrients where needed, to lower these levels in the blood can cause the transfer of these essential nutrients and oxygen to function at a decreased efficiency.
While drinking water is not necessary for digesting food, it is recommended for helping in the breakdown of the food in the digestive system and may help with issues such as constipation.
Another area in which water helps is in your joints, it’s estimated that around 80% of what makes up your joint cartilage consists of water, so reducing the water needed for this area will essentially degrade the tissues that cushion and keep your bones separate.
Getting enough water on a regular basis can increase your metabolism and body’s rates of recovery. This is because of the accelerated rate that cells can repair themselves when the body is properly hydrated.
This means that you are less likely to feel unwell for longer periods of time, because the body is working how it should be.
Water is a great heat transferring device as it has a relatively high heat capacity, which is beneficial within the body for keeping the temperature constant.
The body uses water as a buffer to counter any surges in heat, this is aided by blood which using water can transfer heat around the body to where it is usually needed, such as the vital organs.
It also helps in expelling heat from the body through water vapor from our lungs and sweating out through our skin. Keeping hydrated is a great way to protect vital organs, as it aids in the transfer of blood and all the nutrients blood contains. Water can act as an insulator in this way, as well as improving overall bodily functions.
It may sound counterintuitive, but water is essential for breathing. As the lungs consist of 85% water, it is essential in eliminating carbon dioxide and taking in oxygen, so keeping the lungs moist is vital.
Another reason why keeping hydrated is important is how it helps with our cognitive function. Dehydration or lessened water levels in the bloodstream can mean your bodily functions, including nutrients and oxygen that needs to get to the brain, will be hindered.
This can cause brain fogginess, inhibit your mood, focus, alertness and even short term memory.
Ensuring that the body has enough water on a regular basis can also help the brain to work as it is supposed to, which has its own range of additional benefits. The brain is a highly powerful organ that manages the rest of the body’s functions and ensures that they are working properly.
This means that keeping hydrated on a regular basis can help to optimize brain functioning and help our senses to work properly.
Increased brain activity means that the five senses can work how they are supposed to, with less interference. Being able to think with a clearer head is highly beneficial for normal functioning, as it provides a range of improvements to someone’s outlook on life and mental health.
Additionally, keeping on top of your water intake can help your body to create saliva. This is beneficial for correct digestive functioning, as it makes food easier to swallow, break up, and even taste.
Water is highly important for normal functioning, and it is one of the six nutrients essential for life. These are carbohydrates, fats, protein, vitamins, minerals, and water. If the body is lacking in any of these, then it cannot function properly, so it is definitely worth prioritizing the six nutrients.
How To Stay Hydrated
It can be hard to know how you should start hydrating, and how to keep yourself motivated to take regular sips of water. One of the ways you can start this journey is by informing yourself of how hydrated you currently are, which can be done by taking note of how much water you drink during a regular day.
It is recommended that we drink around 125 ounces (15.5 cups) for men, and 91 ounces (11.5 cups of water) for women every day, and of course this will fluctuate depending on the amount of exercise and body fluids you are losing. The same principles apply for younger children and babies, just in differing amounts.
In newborn children up to the age of around 6 months, breastfeeding will supply all a baby needs in nutrition and water content, but after 6 months a baby can be introduced to water.
They will only need around 4 – 8 ounces per day, this can consist of water or milk or juices, as they get older the amounts will need to increase, with around 5 cups for 4- to 8-year-olds and 7 – 8 cups for older children.
There are a range of things you can drink to get more water into your system, but it is recommended that you always go to water first, other beverages can supply other nutrients but also have high levels of acids, caffeine etc. which need to be regulated, making sure we do not have too much of these.
A good mixture of all of these with water as the main source will make hydration easier and more Intune to modern life: Water, fruit and vegetable juices, milk, a variety of herbal teas, and a moderate amount of caffeine (around 14 fl oz per day is recommended).
Try to encourage those around you to pay attention to their daily water intake, as this can act as a great form of encouragement as well as motivation. Because of the influence that increasing your water intake can have on your body, it is worth sticking at and trying to keep on track.
You could speak with your friends, family members or coworkers and even create a contest out of it. Try to encourage everyone to drink more because it can be a way to get yourself to drink more during the day.
Benefits Of Hydration
We’ve already covered some of the basics that your body needs in order to function correctly. From optimizing cognitive function that allows higher brain performance and improved mental health because of the elimination of brain fog and reduced drowsiness, to the need for water to allow the body to work properly, there are a great number of health benefits that hydration provides.
These are some of the additional benefits that can be noticed after staying on top of your water intake for long periods of time. Try to integrate healthier habits into your routine, and experience some of these additional benefits within a few weeks.
Brain And Muscle Function
Keeping our bodies hydrated along with a good balance of exercise and correct nutrition is essential for the brain and body to work as they should. Staying on top of your water intake can help increase brain activity as well as function because it allows the brain to stay properly fueled and managing the rest of the body.
Maximize your physical performance by hydrating properly, because the muscles and other cells within your body also need water in order to properly recover, function, and perform. This means that you can push yourself a little further in workouts and reach personal goals that might have seemed impossible before.
In addition to this, you might find that your energy levels increase during the day. This is because correct hydration allows all of the cells in your body to work correctly, and enables you to heal much faster.
It might seem a little obvious, but there are so many people who don’t understand why they are feeling drained or lethargic. Getting enough water each day can allow you to focus on what really matters thanks to the improved energy levels and focus that come with proper hydration.
Skin quality is another thing that will improve over time with proper hydration. Your skin is the largest organ in your body, and it can be a useful indicator of how your body’s overall health is dealing with your current lifestyle.
Dryness is one of the most common signs of dehydration, and blemishes or rashes can be another sign that something is wrong with your overall health or that your body is not getting enough nutrients to function properly. Our skin plays a key role in expelling sweat in order to keep our bodies at the right temperature.
By staying hydrated, you are helping your skin to work as it needs to, and keep the body at the right temperature needed to ensure correct use of water, as well as maintaining proper organ functioning.
Tips To Improving Hydration
It can be hard to know where to start when it comes to hydration, and a lot of people might not want to change their daily habits, especially if they rely on high amounts of caffeine.
While we aren’t suggesting that you completely change your routine, below are some tips that can help you create healthier habits and a better relationship with your daily water intake.
In turn, this can help improve your body image, and self-confidence because of the way your body will thank you for staying hydrated.
More people show signs of dehydration than you might think, and it is definitely worth considering the most common symptoms. Check the color of your urine, because that is usually a direct indicator of how hydrated you are.
Of course, there is some natural variation, but if it is a darker amber color then you might need to drink more water during the day.
Other symptoms of dehydration include dizziness, fatigue, dry lips, and cramping. Without correct hydration the body cannot function properly, which is why you should consider working on your habits and following some of the tips below to help you get more water into your body.
Get A Water Bottle
Keep a bottle of water with you each day. A popular term used by people who take their water bottle everywhere with them is ‘emotional support water bottle’. We’re not saying it has these kinds of powers, but looking for a reusable bottle in a fun color or design can be a way of tricking your brain into taking more regular sips during the day. Try to find a style that works for you, and that makes you want to drink more from it.
Another thing to consider is what kind of bottle top you want, for example some people find it easier to take more regular sips from a bottle that has a straw in. Others enjoy screw caps, so it could be worth trying a few different styles to find what works for you. Make sure that you can reuse your water bottle, and refill regularly.
This can help prevent unnecessary waste caused by plastic bottles, and ease your conscience when it comes to the environmental impact of your daily habits. In addition, some water bottles have been designed to hold your entire recommended daily intake of water, which can help provide a visual element to how much you drink in a day compared to how much you should be drinking.
Drink water before, during and after any physical activity. This is when the body needs hydration the most, and it is essential for correct muscle function, performance, and repair.
Cells within the body are very powerful, and they can contribute to faster rates of tissue regeneration and muscle repair when you are properly hydrated. You can benefit from improving your hydration by being able to reach new personal goals, increase your strength, and stamina when it comes to workouts.
If you find yourself struggling with a lot of cravings on a regular basis, it might actually be a sign that you are thirsty. This is why staying on top of your water intake can help you lose weight, as thirst is commonly mistaken for hunger.
Try to have a glass of water before giving into your cravings, because your body might be trying to tell you to drink more. A lot of people tend to reach for food when they are bored. Try to go for a glass of water during these times to see if that helps with how you are feeling.
Mix It Up!
A lot of people struggle with regularly drinking water because they don’t like the taste. It doesn’t have a particular taste, which might not appeal to a lot of people who have been conditioned to prefer a sweeter flavor in their drinks.
Whether it is the taste, or look of it that you aren’t the biggest fan of, there are a lot of ways you can dress up your water to make you want to drink more. Add berries, lemons, or cucumber to your water bottle or even freeze ice cubes with fruit juice to make it more appealing to you or your family members.
Try to avoid going for long periods of time when you aren’t drinking anything, followed by chugging a big glass of water. This isn’t the best way to stay hydrated because the body becomes overwhelmed with the sudden influx of water.
You might become bloated after having a huge drink, because your body doesn’t know what to do. This is why you should try to take regular sips of water during the day, that way you can stay focused and properly fueled for longer.
Caffeine is a diuretic, which means that it causes you to lose fluids in the long run. Try to cut down your daily intake of caffeinated beverages and focus on sipping water. You might find that this helps you feel more alert and improves focus in a healthier way.
One coffee or tea per day won’t be too harmful, but if you are someone who enjoys a Red Bull or energy drink to get you through the day, you might want to consider swapping it for a reusable water bottle.
Energy drinks are very high in sugar which can make you feel more alert. Try to avoid very sweet drinks that have a lot of sugar in them because they can cause you to have an energy crash within a short period of time.
Make sure that you are drinking a lot of water throughout the day and take regular sips from your water bottle so that you can achieve optimal hydration. Of course, there is such a thing as too much water, but so many of us don’t get enough water that it is highly unlikely that this will happen or become a significant issue.
Working on your hydration can allow your brain to function correctly that enables improved focus, lower levels of fatigue, and better brain performance. Not only that, but your body will be able to heal faster.
This can allow you to push yourself a little further during workouts, and you will benefit from achieving new personal goals or records in no time.
Most people are unaware that they might be dehydrated. This is because it is very easy to replace your daily water intake with excessive amounts of things that will soak up a lot of water from your body. These are coffee, and drinks that are high in sugar content.
They can cause unnatural peaks in energy followed by rapid crashes. If you drink a lot of these to keep yourself going in the week, try to replace one or two with a bottle or glass of water. Not only will this save you a little money in the long run, but also help keep your energy levels more consistent.
Additionally, you can try to integrate more watery foods into your diet such as cucumber and berries. This can be a great way to encourage children to consume more water without them even knowing it.
There are a lot of ways that you can introduce more water into your routine, but it largely depends on what kind of technique works best for you. Whether you want to seek social support and motivation from others in the office or at home to hold you accountable, or getting a new water bottle in an interesting design that will make you want to use it more.
Additional options include adding lemon or cucumber slices to your glass or bottle of water so that it adds a little flavor. Ice cubes are another great way to motivate yourself if you prefer your water to be extra cold. It is worth trying a few different methods so that you can work out what you prefer, and how to keep yourself on track.
Something that is worth remembering is that everyone has to start somewhere and simply staying mindful of your water intake each day can be the change you need.
Try to take small steps towards better hydration, whether that involves setting realistic goals or taking a mental note of how drinking a little more water makes you feel.
You might be someone who needs a visual reminder, or even who would benefit from replacing one of your coffees each day with a glass of water. Try to find what works for you and how you can encourage yourself or others to drink more water.
To summarize, there are a lot of benefits that come with working on your hydration and improving your daily water intake. These include better cognitive and bodily functions that can make infections easier to fight off as well as increase the time needed for muscle tissue repair.
Some of the common signs of dehydration include dry skin or lips, and urine that is a dark amber color. Try to find ways that you can integrate more water into your daily routine and explore your options to stay hydrated and motivated.