Most people do not consider drinking water mandatory to maintain their health. We tend to grab a glass of water only when we feel thirsty. Most of us are unaware of the fact that thirst is a sign of dehydration. Therefore, it is ideal to be mindful of how much water to drink daily. We should be drinking water every 2 hours, and every snack and meal should accompany a glass of water. As per scientific standards, about 15.5 cups (3.7 litres) of fluid daily is recommended for men and 11.5 cups (2.7 litres) daily for women. These values need to be raised when you participate in physical activities like sports or exercise.
A formula to calculate the amount of water needed by an individual in a day is as follows:
Water (in litres) to drink a day = your weight (in kgs) 0.033
For example, an individual weighing 60 kg must drink 2 litres of water as per the formula.
Therefore, it’s important to carry a water bottle to your job or any other place where access to water would be difficult. In some situations, the fluid requirement of our body can be fulfilled with other fluids like juices and coconut water. Now, let’s learn about some benefits of staying hydrated.
KEEP YOURSELF HYDRATED and enjoy these 10 benefits
- Balances your body temperature
In hot weather, one tends to sweat a lot which is your body’s mechanism to prevent itself from overheating. As the sweat evaporates from the surface of your skin, it will make you feel cool, accompanied by a loss of fluids and minerals from your body. This ultimately raises the need to replenish the loss by drinking lots of water on hot days. Therefore, body water is also termed a thermal regulator.
- Supports digestion and prevents digestive problems
Water plays a vital role in helping your digestive system break down and processes the food you eat. Drinking water before, during, and after eating your meal is what you should practice. Water aids in almost all steps of the digestive process:
- Water is the main component of saliva. Thus, it helps to moisten your food making it easier to chew and swallow.
- Serves as the vehicle for enzymes that begin the process of breaking down the nutrients present in our food.
- The nutrients derived from your food are then absorbed and passed to the watery environment of your bloodstream.
Water is also critically important when food has to be digested in the large intestine. The soluble and insoluble fibers that reach the lower bowel use water as a medium to add bulk to the waste and promote bowel movements. Thus, water is very beneficial to ease digestive problems like constipation and bloating. Bloating is the result of too much sodium and fiber consumed with inadequate water.
- Treats kidney stones
Kidney stones have evolved as the most prevalent disease of all age groups. The building up of kidney stones adversely affects the functioning of our kidneys. Kidneys play an important role in maintaining water levels, filtering waste, and regulating blood pressure, thus contributing to an individual’s overall health.
Drinking water helps in diluting the minerals and salts that can be responsible for making kidney stones. Scientific studies have shown that drinking as much as 1.8 – 3.6 litres of water daily keeps your urine dilute and prevents the formation of stones. It is important to know that the weather and your activity level also affect the amount of liquid you need to drink.
- Improves workout
Keep yourself hydrated during your workout session, as it helps improve your performance. You should ensure you drink enough water before, during, and after the workout. Do not substitute water with any juices or sports drinks, as they contain excessive amounts of sugar, resulting in dehydration. How water helps in a workout?
- Before a workout – water acts as fuel for your muscles boosts your energy levels and helps prevent cramps. Staying dehydrated before you start your exercise will raise your core temperature faster, making your heart work harder than usual.
- During exercise – it is important to drink water during a workout as it will affect your energy levels. How much water you drink daily depends on how much you sweat and how long you exercise.
- After workout – drinking water post-workout will not only make you feel refreshed but
alsorestore fluid levels and help muscles recover.
- Boosts detoxification
Water enhances our body’s natural detoxification system. The harmful substances and wastes are removed from our bodies through urination, perspiration, and bowel movements.
- Improves brain performance
An individual’s memory, mood, concentration, and reaction time are all affected even by mild dehydration, as low as 2% fluid loss. Therefore, staying hydrated will improve your cognition, stabilize emotions and calm the symptoms of anxiety.
Even headaches and migraines can be avoided if you keep yourself hydrated consistently. This is because these problems are also the result of fluid loss, which leads to the brain contracting away from the skull.
- Reduce joint pain
When a person is severely dehydrated for a long period of time, symptoms like joint pains may occur. Our body fluids have a lubricating effect on our joints, and 70-80% of joint cartilage is estimated to consist of water.
If you keep yourself hydrated, then the gel-like liquid called synovial fluid continues to provide nutrition, shock absorption, lubrication, and cushioning in the joints. Therefore, friction in the cartilage reduces to allow smooth and sustained motion of the joints. Hence, be mindful of how much water to drink daily, as insufficient fluid will lead to less lubrication and the development of joint pains.
- Helps in weight loss
Drinking more water aids in reducing and maintaining the weight of an individual. Some direct and indirect benefits of staying hydrated in a weight loss regime are:
- Water makes you burn more calories. About 0.5 litres of water increases the amount of calories burned by an hour.
- Water intake before meals reduces the appetite leading to less calorie intake.
- Replacing water with other beverages high in calories and sugar will also lower the risk of weight gain.
- Keep yourself hydrated to enjoy hydrated skin.
Dehydration can also reduce the water content of the outermost layer of our skin, called the epidermis. This will result in your skin losing elasticity and feeling rough. Hence, drink an adequate amount of water to increase the blood flow to the skin, making it healthier. Here are some skin benefits of staying hydrated.
- Enhances skin elasticity
- Prevents skin problems like eczema, acne, and pimples
- Shrinks the skin pores
- Boosts skin glow
- Reduces fine lines and pimples
- Speeds up healing of sunburns
- Reduces the risk of heart failure
Keep yourself hydrated, followed by a reduction in salt intake, as it will not only support your heart but also prolongs the risk of heart failure. Dehydration is also associated with cardiac fibrosis, i.e., hardening of the heart muscles, which may also contribute to heart failure.
HOW TO KEEP YOURSELF HYDRATED
- Drinking a glass of water should be the first thing to do every morning
- Set alarms as reminders to help you follow your 2 hourly drinking routines throughout the day.
- Don’t miss your body’s signals, i.e., drink a glass of water whenever you feel thirsty.
- Add calorie-free flavors if plain water doesn’t feel appealing every time.
- Check the color of your urine. Clear or light-coloured urine indicates you are well hydrated.
Knowing how much water to drink a day will help properly function all your body’s organs and keep you healthy. Therefore, calculate the amount of water your body requires as per your weight, and do not substitute water with any other beverages.
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