Why Do I Need to Drink Water-what does it do anyway?
Don’t wait till you are thirsty
Water is good for you.
So much advice, but none of it really tells us why. So what does water do in our bodies?
There’s a huge list of things reasons to drink more water and I”ve listed some below. We all know that we cannot survive very long without it, but let’s get a bit more specific. This list is going to focus mainly on the individual that is trying to improve fitness and health, but these things also apply to everyone else, even if you are happy to sit around, eat rubbish and settle for less than optimum health. Drink more water, easy and practically free too.
Helps to maintain Healthy Joints
Healthy joints depend on many things including sufficient water intake. Without getting too complicated, this has implications for everyone.
The cartilage in your joints relies on an optimal water supply. This is important because without healthy cartilage, you face a bone-on-bone situation and the beginnings of arthritis-type symptoms. You probably don’t think this effects you too much, but when you can’t bend down anymore because your knees and hips hurt so much, it will be too late.
Even if you already have joint issues, don’t compound them any further by not staying hydrated
Improves Your skin
And who doesn’t want to look younger and have better skin? I know I do. Maintaining hydration will improve the look and feel of your skin. One thing new clients always say is that ‘everyone says my skin looks better’ and we mostly put that down to better hydration in the early days of lifestyle change.
Help Maintain a Healthy Spine
Between each vertabrae in your spine are discs called invertabrael discs. These discs comprise a large percentage of water and in order to do their job as shock absorbers and to allow movement between your vertabrae, they also rely on optimal water intake.
Back pain has many causes usually related to inactivity and poor posture. Chronic dehydration will also contribute to the problem.
Mental Focus and Concentration
85% of our brain tissue is water. Not consuming enough water will result in head aches and an inability to focus and concentrate properly.
Low hydration status also increases fatigue levels. You will just feel more tired all the time. This can have serious implications at work, while training, at school and just any time that you need to be totally focused. How often do you get head aches? Try drinking more water and you will notice a huge difference. You’ll also notice a marked improvement in concentration.
Reduction of Cravings and improved metabolism
While there is not a lot of ‘science’ to prove this one, I know for certain, that drinking enough water is key to me avoiding the munchies, cravings and binges that would otherwise occur way too often.
Like you, I too sometimes scour the pantry, fridge and cupboards for anything I can get my hands on. Sometimes its sweet I’m after and sometimes its salty. Sometimes its just anything at all.
While your best bet is not having anything like that in the house, I know that making sure I’m drinking heaps of water all day means that I don’t get those urges. Some say its because I’m mistaking thirst for hunger. I do beg to differ because I know I’m not hungry when these urges hit.
Whatever the mechanism, it works for me and for many of my clients. Anecdotal evidence is very strong that maintaining good hydration reduces or even removes cravings and binges.
Improving your metabolism is another side effect of drinking more water. Combined with fewer calories (you’ll be fuller) this is a sure fire way to boost fat loss. When new clients first come in for a consultation, I’ll often tell them that if they do just one thing – drink 2-3 litres of water per day- and change nothing else, they’ll see results. Its true, I’ve proven it time and time again.
Water is absolutely crucial to maintaining a healthy digestive system. Why should you care about this? Healthy digestion will ensure that more of the nutrients from your food are absorbed and can be used in you body. If you are dehydrated, it makes it extremely hard for your macro and micro nutrients to be transported and utilised in your body.
At the other end, dehydration will contribute to constipation. Try it, more water will really help with this problem. Combine more water with physical activity and you are likely to be cured of this common ailment.
Without sufficient water, your kidneys have to work extra hard to remove waste products from your body. This can lead to kidney problems and the problem is worse for you if you are overweight and have a lot of fat to shift from your body.
Toxins are stored in bodyfat, so if you are reducing your body fat, this will increase the work your kidneys have to do. Enough water is absolutely necessary for optimal fat loss results.
How Water Much Is Enough?
There are many theories about the optimal amount of water to consume in 24 hours. Most though agree that 2-3 litres per day plus what you consume while training should be sufficient. There are lots of different formulas, but most of them equate to this amount.
It is also recommended that you consume approx. another 800ml of water for every hour of exercise you partake in and even more if you’re training inside or if the weather is warm.
A reduction in body fluids of only 1-2% will result in impaired performance. That means for an 80kg person, a loss of only 1-1.5 litres of water will result in a 15-20% decrease in performance, head aches, lower concentration abilities and all of the things listed above.
I know when I am testing body composition at FitterFaster, the majority of new clients come in under-hydrated.
It does take a bit of effort to form the habit of drinking enough every day. Take a bottle with you everywhere. Have it sitting on your desk. Take it in the car with you. Make the effort and you will notice the difference in the way you feel and your fatigue levels.