Updated: Oct 9, 2020
High quality H2o, a crucial piece of the healthy lifestyle puzzle. From peak brain power, to joint support, and youthful glowing skin the benefits are diverse and transformative. And yet so many of us admit that we likely don't get enough water daily and don't do anything about it! So, to help make hydration a priority here are a few evidence-based examples of how significant water is to your health and fitness journey. We'll follow up with a few simple ways to make incorporating more water into your daily routine a breeze.
Let's start from the top with the mind. Hydration status has a tremendous effect on the brain and its ability to function. When the body is properly hydrated cognitive function, mood, and energy regulating mechanisms perform at their best. When only slightly dehydrated, with a mere 1.4% fluid loss, participants in a study found that their ability to focus decreased and the likelihood of fatigue, anxiety and stress induced headaches increased significantly (1). Stay hydrated, stay sharp.
Next up -- Joints, they help us keep it together, and by drinking water regularly we can return the favor. Cartilage, found in joints and the disks of the spine, are mostly water at about 80%. Consistent dehydration can reduce the joints’ shock-absorbing ability, leading to joint pain (2). In the most sensitive areas like our spinal cord water acts as a cushion, a gentle barrier between our core skeletal structure and the dynamic movements that carry us in all directions throughout the day. Staying hydrated allows us to keep it moving comfortably.
On to the next topic-al, we take to the skin, the largest and most outwardly telling organ when it comes to adequate hydration. When our bodies are lacking proper hydration the skin becomes more vulnerable to premature wrinkling, uneven tone and complexion, as well as excessive flaking and dryness that can exacerbate more serious skin conditions. Chronic dehydration can also lead to sunken eyes and persistent under-eye circles adding years to the appearance (3). If you want to glow, grab a glass of water.
Now that we know why, let's look at HOW to incorporate more hydration into a daily routine:
Start the day with a glass of water. First thing in the morning, before coffee, even before you get out of bed! Have a glass of water at the ready, set up on your nightstand, just waiting for you. Drink 12-15 oz. to help jumpstart your mind, mood and motivation to hydrate.
Invest in a reusable water bottle. If you don't have water with you, how can you be expected to drink it? Keep it by your side throughout the day and if you're having trouble actually going for it, set a reminder on your phone or place a sticky note in your line of sight in your workspace. Try to consumer 8oz every couple hours.
Water with every meal. Aim for 15oz, easily broken down to 5/5/5, before, during, and after you eat. Bonus -- drinking water with your meal helps to regulate feelings of satiety so you're less likely to over eat and more likely to slow down your meal for better digestion.
Workout + Water. Walking? Water. Weightlifting? Water. Whatever it is that gets you going make sure to bring your H2o with you to replenish your water supply during and after a sweat session.
If you're struggling to make it stick, give this a save, bookmark or screenshot and refer back to it any time you need a friendly reminder to HYDRATE.
Keep watering yourself, you're growing. - E. Russel
Mild Dehydration Affects Mood in Healthy Young Women, The Journal of Nutrition, Volume 142, Issue 2, February 2012, Pages 382–388, https://doi.org/10.3945/jn.111.142000
2. Fifteen Benefits of Drinking Water. Medical News Today. James McIntosh. July 16, 2018. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/290814
3. Is My Skin Dehydrated? Healthline. Kristeen Cherney. May 2, 2018.