Of all the things that you do throughout the day, hydration is one of the most important. Our bodies are made up of about 60% water and literally can’t function without it. But, beyond keeping us alive, there are several additional reasons to make sure that you’re getting your daily dose of H2O. For example, water can support weight loss and workout performance. Here are five benefits of drinking water, plus tips for staying on track with your daily hydration goals.
It supports your workouts.
Did you know that in just one hour of exercise, your body can lose up to an entire quart of water? It may seem like a no-brainer that you need to be properly hydrated for your workouts, but you may not know why it’s so important. Even a small amount of water loss can impact your ability to perform your workout at the highest level. According to ACE Fitness, dehydration can not only cause muscle fatigue and cramping, loss of coordination, a lack of energy and exhaustion, but it can also result in heat stroke in extreme cases.
Don’t wait until you’re thirsty or gasping for breath after a set of burpees to start hydrating. The most important time to hydrate is actually in the 24 hours before your workout if you’re active. Drink about 20 oz. of water 2 hours before you exercise, about 10 oz. of water every 10 to 20 minutes of your workout (drinking too much water during exercise has its own drawbacks), and then another 20 oz. or so after. Increase these amounts if it’s an especially hot day or you’re engaging in vigorous, high-intensity exercise. The more you sweat, the more water your body needs to be replenished.
Water can even help you show off the muscle tone that you’ve worked so hard for. By lubricating your joints and muscles, it helps fight soreness and cramping.
It helps with weight loss.
If you need some extra motivation to stay hydrated, drinking water can also help you with your weight loss efforts. Water often makes your stomach feel full, and therefore, it can help reduce your appetite or curb cravings. One popular trick is drinking water right before a meal, so that you’re likely to eat smaller portions and consume fewer calories. Drinking more water than average has also been linked to weight loss over time, and you could see significant results by simply replacing other beverages that are higher in sugar and calories (like soda or alcohol) with water.
There’s even evidence that drinking water can help you burn more calories throughout the day. Studies have shown that increased water consumption can increase the body’s resting energy expenditure – the rate at which your body burns calories while it’s resting. These studies also suggest that drinking half a liter of water can result in an extra 23 calories burned. Pro tip: if you drink your water cold, your body will burn additional calories heating it to body temperature.
It keeps your health in check.
Water is a great preventative measure and has many positive benefits. Among them, water is known to help prevent dehydration headaches, avoid constipation, keep blood pressure from rising and help prevent kidney stones. Water can also help reduce the risk of a hangover from alcohol consumption (have some water between drinks and before you go to bed).
It may or may not help you improve the look of your skin.
You’ve seen celebrities swear by H2O for improving their skin tone, physique and overall well-being, but the jury is still out on the science behind those claims. As Rachel Nazarian, M.D. – a board-certified dermatologist at the Schweiger Dermatology Group in NYC and an assistant clinical professor of dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital – told Women’s Health, “Since pharmaceutical companies can’t really patent and sell water, researchers are hard-pressed to find anyone to actually fund studies on its benefit.” Anecdotally speaking, Nazarian’s patients mention benefits including fewer cases of acne. According to Dr. Dendy Engelman, “Adequate hydration helps the skin to optimize circulation to the skin and toxin removal from the skin, but only in extreme cases does it correlate with skin hydration levels.”
It helps with your energy levels
Water may not be able to replace the jolt you get from your morning coffee, but it can help boost your energy and staying on top of your hydration may stop you from needing that second or third dose of caffeine. Dehydration, on the other hand, and can cause fatigue and exhaustion. If you find yourself in a midday slump, try drinking a glass of water to see if it gives you a boost.
Tips for Staying Hydrated
It’s commonly recommended that you drink eight 8 oz. glasses of water each day, but that’s easier said than done. Work, family and other priorities can distract you from properly hydrating throughout the day. So, here are a few hacks to keeping on top of your water intake.
Find the perfect water bottle.
Always have a water bottle with you – by your bedside, your desk, etc. – as a helpful reminder to drink water. It also pays to purchase a water bottle that you love. The water bottle has evolved significantly in recent years to encourage more efficient hydration. Today, tech and design-savvy water bottles come in appealing shapes and colors, are travel friendly and can keep water cold for 24 hours. There’s even a smart water bottle that connects to your phone to track your hydration progress and alert you when it’s time to drink more.
Download an app.
There’s an app for everything these days, including apps to keep you hydrated. These apps can help you stay on track to achieving a daily water goal by logging your intake and reminding you when it’s time to drink.
Add some flavor.
One of the biggest complaints about water is that it doesn’t taste like anything. You can add fruits, like lemon or cucumber, or pour in a packet of Hydroxycut Drink Mix to give your water some flavor. With zero sugar and just 10 calories per serving, these packets contain an electrolyte and vitamins. The formula also helps boost energy and burn calories with caffeine, as well as metabolize carbs, proteins and fats with B vitamins – all while adding a delicious wildberry flavor to your glass or bottle.
Eat water-rich foods
You don’t have to simply drink water to hydrate, as one-fifth of our water consumption actually comes from food. Snack on healthy fruits and veggies that are high in water content, like watermelon, tomatoes, cucumber, celery, strawberries, zucchini, carrots and grapefruit. Plain yogurt and soup are also great options.
This article is for informational purposes only and is not meant as a source of medical advice.