With the summer upon us, it is prime time for the pool, cookouts, and golf. Unsuprisingly, it's also the time of the year where we lose the most water through sweat. With all the fun we're having, it's easy to forget about one of the key ingredients to our bodies' proper functioning: water. We all know we should hydrate, but how important is it, really?
1. Maintains the natural balance of body fluids
This underrated liquid has many different benefits, all of which are necessary to keep us alive. Nearly all the major functions in your body, from digestion to circulation, depend on water to survive, which is why being dehydrated is such a big deal. You lose water through breath, sweat, and urine. When you don't get enough water, your body triggers thirst, a feeling everyone has experienced from time to time. With about 60% of our bodies being made up of water, it's no wonder that we find ourselves thirsty a lot!
2. Aids in the distribution of vitamins and minerals
Although some minerals are found in water, the primary role of water in digestion is to break down the vitamins and minerals found in food. Starting in your saliva, food is broken down and dissolved. Next, water travels with your food towards your stomach, then towards the small intestine. As food travels, water works to break down the vitamins and minerals that you can then use as energy. All throughout your body, water acts as a guide in the digestion process.
3. Helps in Cognitive Function
If you've ever been stuck with a fuzzy-headed feeling when attempting to concentrate, or struggled to come up with answers to easy questions, it might have been a sign of dehydration. As well as working in your body, the water you drink also operates in your brain. A main function of water is helping your brain cells communicate with each other. If your water intake starts to drop, so does your ability to think, learn, remember, and even sleep better. Staying hydrated has been linked to better test scores in school, faster decision making, better concentration, and improved focus.
4. Water Keeps your skin clear
Although water is a staple item inside our bodies, it also has effects on the outside. By drinking lots of water, you can keep your skin clear and looking good. According to Pure Luxe Medical, people who drink lots of water are less likely to suffer from severe acne. The more hydrated your skin, the less your pores will clog. While there are clear benefits for a teen's skin, they carry over to adults, as well. Water has also been proven to reduce wrinkles and lines in your face. While drinking tons of water per day won't erase wrinkles, it can certainly help in the long run.
5. Water is a staple for exercise
If you've ever played a sport, you've certainly been told to grab water before leaving for a practice or a game. Even the smallest athletes can be seen carrying water bottles onto the field. Water replaces the fluids you lose when you sweat in order to maintain balance in your body. If you don't drink to replace what's lost, it can leave you dizzy, dehydrated, and with muscle cramps.
While there aren't exact rules for how much you should drink while exercising, the American Council of Exercise recommends drinking 17 to 20 ounces of water 2 to 3 hours before exercising, 8 ounces of water every 20 to 30 minutes while warming up, 7 to 10 ounces every 10 to 20 minutes during exercise, and finally, 8 ounces of water 30 minutes after you exercise. While remembering to drink water can be a chore when you're having fun, you'll thank yourself later.
How can I remember to drink water?
If you're constantly in a rush or just not in a water-drinking habit, there are still ways for all of us to remember to hydrate. One easy way is to set reminders or alarms on your phone. It's a gentle way to get us to get up and drink. Just don't forget to name your alarm something like "drink water!" and you'll be good to go.
Another way is through rubber bands. Place three rubber bands around your water bottle. Every time you finish a bottle, take off one rubber band. By the end of the day, you should have all your rubber bands off. This is an easy way to tell how much you are drinking throughout the day and ensures you drink enough! Finally, another great way to remember to drink water is to buy a fun water bottle that you really like! Through buying a water bottle and carrying it with you, it will be easy on hand.
Whether you use one of the strategies above or come up with your own, there's a way for everyone to remember to drink water.
Although often overlooked and underrated, water is one of the most important ingredients needed to allow your body to function. With benefits inside and out, hopefully you now appreciate water a little more than you did before. So before you leave for that neighborhood barbeque, don't forget your water bottle on the way out!