“Staying hydrated is essential for health and well-being, but many people do not drink enough water every day.”

Do you drink enough water? In general, nutritionists advise drinking eight glasses of water per day. You may need more water if you exercise or sweat a lot or require less water if you often consume other beverages. 

Here are seven evidence-based fitness benefits for consuming plenty of water.

  1. Maximize Physical Performance

If you do not stay hydrated, your physical performance might suffer. It is essential during intense exercise or high heat. Dehydration may have significant consequences if you lose up to 2% of your body’s water content. However, it is not uncommon for athletes to lose up to 6-10% of their water weight through sweating. It can change body temperature control, increase fatigue, and reduce motivation. It can also make exercise more challenging, both mentally and physically.

Optimal hydration has been shown to prevent this and even reduce oxidative stress during intense exercise. It is not surprising when you consider that your muscles are composed of about 80% water. If you exercise intensely and tend to sweat, staying hydrated can help you perform at your absolute best.

  1. Affect Energy Levels and Brain Function

Your brain is strongly affected by your hydration status. Studies show that even mild dehydration, such as losing 1–3% of body weight, can affect many brain function aspects. The researchers found that a 1.4% fluid loss after exercise adversely affected mood as well as concentration. It also increased the intensity of headaches. A fluid loss of 1.6% affects your working memory and increases feelings of anxiety and fatigue. Many other studies, with subjects ranging from children to adults, have shown that mild dehydration affects your mood, memory, and brain performance.

  1. Prevent Injuries

The tissue lying in between each bone is a tissue called cartilage, which works as a shock absorber to protect joints and bones. Water acts as a lubricant for the joints by keeping the cartilage moist, so it is essential to take care of these areas – especially if you are physically active regularly.

  1. Prevent and Treat Headaches

Inadequate hydration can lead to headaches. Studies have shown that chronic dehydration is a common cause of tension, headaches, and migraines. Fortunately, drinking water relieves headaches in most dehydrated individuals within 30 minutes to three hours. Dehydration can affect your focus and cause irritation, making your symptoms appear even worse. To avoid headaches from dehydration, drink plenty of water and eat water-rich foods throughout the day.

  1. Relieve Constipation

Constipation is a common problem characterized by irregular bowel movements and difficulty passing stool. Increasing fluid intake is often recommended as a part of the treatment protocol, and there is evidence to support this. Low water intake appears to be a risk factor for constipation in both younger and older people. Increasing your fluid intake may help relieve constipation. Mineral water can be an incredibly beneficial drink for those suffering from constipation. Studies show that mineral water, rich in magnesium and sodium, improves bowel movements’ frequency and consistency in people with constipation.

  1. Treat Kidney Stones

Urinary stones are painful clusters of mineral crystals that form in the urinary system. The most common are kidney stones. There is limited evidence that water intake can help prevent recurrence in people who have previously developed kidney stones. A large intake of fluids increases the volume of urine, which passes through the kidneys. It dilutes the mineral concentration, so they are less likely to crystallize and form clusters. Water can also help prevent initial stone formation, but studies are required to confirm this.

  1. Help with Weight Loss

Drinking plenty of water helps you lose weight. Water can increase satiety and boost your metabolism. There is some evidence that increasing your water intake can promote weight loss by slightly increasing your metabolism, increasing the number of calories you burn daily. Timing is also essential. Drinking half a liter of water boosts your metabolism by 24-30%. Drinking water half an hour before a meal is the most effective way to lose weight. It can make you feel full so that you eat fewer calories.

What Happens If You Do Not Drink Enough Water?

Whatever you do, make sure you drink those 6-8 glasses; otherwise, dehydration can lead to many problems. Here are some side effects:

  • Persistent Headache: One of the first things you may notice when you are dehydrated is a throbbing headache. If dehydration is the source, it will disappear after you consume more water.
  • Stress: 85 percent of your brain tissue is made up of water. When you’re dehydrated, both your mind and body become stressed. If you are thirsty, you are already a little dehydrated.
  • Fatigue: Failure to replenish your fluid intake can cause your energy levels to drop, causing fatigue and brain fog. Next time when you get another cup of coffee, see if you need water instead.
  • Dull Skin: Dehydration appears on your face in the form of dry, dull skin that looks less radiant, elastic, and plump. Drinking water hydrates and replenishes skin cells, making your face look younger. It also removes impurities and improves blood circulation, so your face stays clean, clear, and glowing.
  • Dry Mouth: If you do not drink enough water, you may have dry mucous membranes, i.e., lack of saliva. It can make speaking, swallowing, and even breathing difficult. Fortunately, this can be easily solved by drinking water.
  • Weight Gain: Sometimes, people confuse thirst with hunger and eat more, but all they need to do is drink more. Sometimes when you drink a glass of water, the signs of hunger disappear.
  • Slow Bowel Function: There are water receptors in the colon that pull water out of the body to make stools softer. If you don’t drink enough water, constipation and hard stools can be common side effects, along with abdominal pain and cramps. 

The Takeaway

Even mild dehydration can affect you mentally and physically. Make sure you drink enough water every day, regardless of whether your personal goal is 1.9 liters (64 ounces) or a different amount. It’s one of the best things you can do for your overall health.

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