Has it occurred to you today that you are thirsty? Guess what – by the time you experience the sensation of the thirst, you are already dehydrated. That thirst is your body calling for re-hydration.
So, really, what does this mean? Why should we drink more water?
Your body is composed of roughly 60% water1. That means when we are dehydrated – and most of us spend our days constantly dehydrated to some degree – we are affecting the performance of the majority of our body. Nearly all of our systems do not function as well without the proper water intake.
- If you don’t drink water, you will die. It's that important. Depending on our environment, we can live only a few days without water - maybe a week. We can live much longer without food. For most of us, we should prioritize the consumption of water far more than we currently do.
- Prevent cancer. Yes, that’s right – various research says staying hydrated can reduce risk of colon cancer by 45%5, bladder cancer by 50%6, and possibly reduce breast cancer risk as well.7
- Be less cranky. Research says dehydration can affect your mood and make you grumpy and confused.3 Think clearer and be happier by drinking more water.
- Perform better. Proper hydration contributes to increased athletic performance. Water composes 75% of our muscle tissue!4 Dehydration can lead to weakness, fatigue, dizziness, and electrolyte imbalance.
- Lose weight. Sometimes we think we are hungry, when actually we are thirsty. Our body just starts turning on all the alarms when we ignore it. For those of you trying to drop some pounds, staying hydrated can serve as an appetite suppressant and help with weight loss.
- Have less joint pain. Drinking water can reduce pain in your joints by keeping the cartilage soft and hydrated. This is actually how glucosamine helps reduce joint pain, by aiding in cartilage’s absorption of water.
- Flush out waste and bacteria. Our digestive system needs water to function properly. Waste is flushed out in the form of urine and sweat. If we don't drink water, we don't flush out waste and it collects in our body causing a myriad of problems. Also combined with fiber, water can cure constipation.
- Prevent headaches. Sometimes headaches can be caused by dehydration, so drinking water can prevent or alleviate that nasty head pain. Next time your head hurts, try drinking water.
- Make your skin glow. Our skin is the largest organ in our body. Regular and plentiful water consumption can improve the color and texture of your skin by keeping it building new cells properly. Drinking water also helps the skin do it's job of regulating the body's temperature through sweating.2
- Feed your body. Water is essential for the proper circulation of nutrients in the body. Water serves at the body’s transportation system and when we are dehydrated things just can’t get around as well.
Quick rules of thumb for drinking water:
- Drink half your bodyweight in ounces of water (if you weight 160lbs, drink 80oz of water each day).
- Carry a bottle everywhere with you as a reminder to keep drinking.
- Eat raw fruits and vegetables – they are dense in water. You can get water from food, not just from beverages.
- Drink water and other fluids until you urinate frequently and with light color.
This article originally appeared on breakingmuscle.com