I drink a lot of water, even by American standards. I'll not forget the time ten years ago, while traveling in Turkey, when my friend and I were laughed at by locals for the 1-liter Nalgene bottles we toted everywhere. I'm not about to get a dehydration headache on my vacation, no matter the international social costs!
Your body is MOSTLY water (about 60%), so it makes sense that water plays a vital role in your health, right? Most people don't get nearly enough. Simply upping your water intake can startlingly improve your wellness (and improve your workouts, which in turn improve your wellness). If nothing else, drink more water for vanity's sake. I credit my still 20-something skin on my 30-something face exclusively to water consumption and daily sunscreen.
A Bag of Water Encased by Skin
As flattering a description as it is, that is what you are. More accurately, your body is a bag of water contained by a skin also made of water. Everything that's a part of you is partly water. Water is so important to your body, that your entire metabolism - meaning all of the systems and changes that occur in your body on a daily basis - depends on it. If you don't get enough, the whole machine suffers.
Water does the following VERY important things:
- your blood and your muscles are made up almost entirely of it
- it balances your pH level -- if that's off, your cells are overly acidic and dysfunctional
- it circulates things though the body, carrying nutrients and other materials
- it serves as a solvent to break things up in the body
- it controls your body temperature
- it lubricates your joints and your orifices (hello, dry mouth!)
Proper hydration means that you function better, including processing your food. It also means that your skin looks fuller (less wrinkles!) and you're less likely to overeat due to feeling THIRSTY.
So what does proper hydration mean? Make sure to drink at least ½ your bodyweight in ounces each day. If you weigh about 150 pounds, drink at least 75 ounces of water (not coffee, not tea, not diet soda - if you wouldn't wash your face in it, it doesn't count). That's about 2 liters. Sure, you get water from coffee as well as fruits and vegetables, but in order to reap the benefits of a well-hydrated body, try to get more pure cool delicious water flowing in your life.
Staying hydrated helps to...
- Keep you looking young
- Fight skin disorders such as eczema, psoriasis, dry skin, and wrinkles
- Improve your cognitive abilities
- Heighten energy levels
- Relieve headaches and joint pain
- Reduce your risk of bladder and colon cancer
- Improve your digestive system
- Lower your risk of heart attacks
Become a Drinker - Tips!
If you're finding it difficult to meet your goal, try one of the following:
- Have a glass of water with every meal - and definitely alongside every alcoholic beverage.
- Carry a water bottle around throughout the day.
- Add a squeeze of citrus to your water to naturally flavor it.
- Try an infusion pitcher. Experiment with adding different fruits and fresh herbs to flavor your water. From blackberry sage to cucumber lemon, the combinations are endless.
- Add ice cubes to your water to trick yourself into drinking more.
- Make a habit of grabbing a sip of water every time you pass by a water fountain.
- Try carbonated water such as Perrier if you get bored of still water.
- Become an herbal or fruit tea connoisseur. Purchase a non-caffeinated herbal and fruit tea sampler and treat yourself to a new variety each night.
Get your drink on!