Aside from oxygen, nothing is as important as H20. Our bodies are made up of around 60% water and if we don’t maintain water balance we simply can’t function.
The good news is that drinking the right amount of water is easier than you think. A common recommendation is to drink eight 8-ounce glasses a water a day, however it’s not a hard and fast rule that everyone needs to stick to. For most people the ‘thirst instinct’ is very reliable. When water content drops to a certain level, thirst kicks in, and you respond by drinking your way to rehydration. This means you don’t need to consciously think about it, all you need to do is trust your thirst.
- Drink if you feel thirsty
- Stop drinking when you no longer feel thirsty
- If it’s hot or you’re exercising, drink more to compensate for fluid lost through sweating
Follow these guidelines and you’ll be well on track to optimal hydration – and enjoying the health benefits that go with it.
Water helps you exercise more effectively
Staying well hydrated while you exercise can help you perform at your best. Lose just 2% of your body’s water content (a relatively low level of dehydration) and your physical performance will suffer1. It can result in altered body temperature control, reduced motivation and increased fatigue – making exercise feel more difficult, both physically and mentally2.
Water aids energy levels and brain function
Become even mildly dehydrated and it can affect your energy and mood and significantly impact your memory and brain performance. A recent study of young women showed that fluid loss of 1.36% after exercise impaired both mood and concentration, and increased the frequency of headaches3. A similar study of young men showed that fluid loss of 1.59% had a negative impact on working memory and increased feelings of anxiety and fatigue4.
Water helps ease and avoid headaches
Studies show that, for many, dehydration can trigger some forms of headache and migraine5,6. It’s also evident that often those suffering from headaches can relieve the symptoms by drinking water7.
Water can aid weight loss
One simple tip to feel more satisfied: Drinking water before meals (around 2 glasses) can help some people feel fuller and eat less during meals8,9,10.
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