Did you know that one of the most top New Year’s resolutions is to drink more water? We all know that drinking water is essential and apparently drinking more is better, but why? Just knowing that the body is 60% or more water doesn’t tell you how much to drink, or what will happen if you don’t. Today I thought it best to keep it simple and list what I found to be the most interesting facts related to hydration. So, in no particular order, here are six.
- Cardiac health and blood volume [dehydration lowers blood volume and causes the strain on the heart by forcing it to work harder for adequate oxygen transport, if you work out dehydrated you will find yourself out of breath, Heart racing and experiencing faster onset of “muscle burn”.
- Thermoregulation [without sufficient hydration blood vessels are not able to dilate properly and leads to increased retention of heat making you feel hotter, severe dehydration will lead to decreased sweating during exercise which becomes a medical emergency]
- Muscle health/Joint health (connective tissue) [ Improved hydration of joint cartilage improves the elastic and shock absorbing qualities of cartilage. It improves muscle protein synthesis and improves removal of muscle waste which leads to improved recovery rates and decreased soreness.]
- Kidney function [chronic dehydration can contribute to the formation of kidney stones, and decrease the efficiency of the kidneys to perform their primary job of filtering blood and removing waste products]
- Brain Function [ even minor dehydration can affect your mood, memory recall both long term and short term, ability to perform arithmetic reasoning and recognize patterns that allow for optimal decision making]
- Weight Loss [ drinking two 8 ounce glasses of water can increase metabolism by up to 30% for 1.5 hours. One study showed dieters that drank 16 oz. of water prior to their meals lost on average 44% more weight than those who didn’t over the course of a 12 week trial.]
Create an optimal environment for your body and drink plenty of water. Ideally we should drink as much as we lose, but that varies so greatly its not possible to set an exact amount. A good place to start is to take your body weight in pounds, cut the number in half and then drink that number in fluid ounces. If you are sweating, you’re going to need more.