About more than 50 per cent of our bodies are made up of water and hence, adequately replenishing ourselves with fluids is important to maintain optimum health and overall fitness. More than a thirst quencher, water and other fluids keep each part of our bodily system functioning properly. They flush out waste, transport nutrients in the body, regulate body temperature, assist in the functioning of our brain and muscles etc. We lose water in large amounts every single day through perspiration, breath, urination and bowel movement. Not drinking enough fluids can leave us dehydrated with several associated issues such as tiredness, dry mouth, dizziness, urinary incontinence and constipation. It also maintains the equilibrium of electrolytes which is essential for the nervous system, thereby preventing cramps, ligament damage and stress on the veins.
Conventionally, it has been advised to consume at least 8 glasses or two litres of water per day. However, the amount of water you need per day can vary based on your activity level, the climate you live in, your age, health condition etc. The US based Institute of Medicine has set the amount at 2.7 litres of water a day for women and 3.7 litres for men. This refers to the total daily fluid intake from foods, plain water and other beverages.
At OneFitplus, we commonly come across customer issues related to poor digestion, slow metabolism, joint aches and constant fatigue. We figured out that a major reason behind such problems was not having enough fluids. In our busy lives, we go long hours without good hydration and end up having copious amounts of tea, coffee and soda causing more harm than good. Our simple approach towards weight loss and overall good health has hydration as a major component. The benefits of staying hydrated are numerous:
Reduce joint and muscle pain: Water is great for physical strength and endurance. Consistent hydration keeps our joints and muscles lubricated and energized, improving their performance. Fluids supply necessary nutrients and remove waste to the cells in our muscles and joints, making them suppler and pain free. The right balance of water and electrolytes in our muscles keeps them full of energy and vitality. We should especially make sure to hydrate ourselves, before and after a workout.
Improves Digestion: If your body is well hydrated, there is smooth movement in your gastrointestinal tract. Adequate fluid intake ensures that you have regular and comfortable bowel movement and are free from constipation. In addition to bad eating habits, insufficient water consumption results in the colon extracting water from the stool, making us backed up. The resultant constipation can lead to a host of other problems. Water and other fluids also break down the food, helping you absorb the necessary nutrients.
Good for the kidney: Forget about the fancy detox diets and just focus on keeping up your intake of water and other fluids. They play a huge role in flushing out toxins, waste and bacteria out of our body. Our kidneys need a good supply of water and other fluids to move waste products in and out of our cells. Toxins such as blood urea nitrogen is processed by our kidneys, to be flushed out as urine. For such important functions, we need to provide our kidneys the necessary amount of hydration. Water also keeps away kidney stones and urinary tract infections.
Helps in losing weight: Yes, it’s true! Water helps you in shedding those stubborn pounds as well. Drinking water on a consistent basis can boost sluggish metabolism and enhance the body’s ability to burn calories. Several times, we mistake our thirst cues as hunger cues. Having a non-calorie drink like water in addition to water rich fruits and vegetables can regulate our appetite. Also if you consume a few glasses of water before having a meal, you are unlikely to over eat.
Aids Cardio Vascular Health: Our heart is continuously pumping blood and it cannot do this job efficiently, without adequate hydration in place. The blood volume in our body lowers if we are dehydrated and consequently, our heart has to work harder to bring enough oxygen to the brain, muscles and other organs/tissues. Dehydration can constrict blood vessels and thicken blood, causing high blood pressure. Our blood contains mainly water and thus, we need to regularly consume fluids to keep it moving through our system and make our heart functioning properly.
Makes skin glow: Inadequate consumption of water can make our skin look pale, dry and wrinkly. Water fills the space between skin cells, plumping up the surface of the skin, reducing fine lines and wrinkles. Having enough fluids regularly can keep our skin elastic, moist, shiny and supple. Those suffering from skin issues such as acne and dermatitis also get major relief from increasing their fluid intake. Proper hydration makes us look and feel younger for a long time.
Regulates body temperature: Sufficient water consumption helps to regulate our body temperature, during both summers and winters. It keeps us both cool and warm internally and prevents us from falling sick. The blood vessels in our body expand and contract in response to the temperature outside and proper hydration keeps a check on that.
Enhances brain function: Not drinking enough amount of fluids can impair the proper functioning of our brain, leaving a negative impact on our mood, memory and concentration levels. Besides, dehydration can cause frequent headaches, fatigue and anxiety. You can improve your cognitive performance by upping your fluid intake.
It’s imperative to stay hydrated for our overall health and wellness. We must increase the amount of liquid we have daily to see positive outcomes immediately. If you get bored of having plain water, you can change things up by mixing lemon juice, mint leaves, cucumber, fruits or unsweetened tea in it. Handy ways to stay hydrated include always carrying a reusable water bottle, ordering water instead of soda at restaurants and including water in your daily bedtime routine. Staying hydrated is simple, easy and should be included as a lifestyle habit to improve our health.
OneFitplus recommends that we must limit the consumption of tea, coffee, soda and alcohol as they dehydrate our body. Instead, we may consume fluids in the form of soups, broths, fruit infused water, fresh fruit juice, milk etc. and water rich fruits and vegetables such as cucumber, lettuce, cantaloupe and water melon to keep our hydration level up.
A good way to gauge if we are having enough fluids is to look at the colour of our urine. If our urine is light or colourless, we are on the right track. However, if our urine is dark yellow or amber in colour, we might be dehydrated. Hydration is important not just for our survival but for efficient functioning of each part of our body. Even mild dehydration can leave us exhausted and impair our physical and mental performance.