Are You Drinking Enough Water?
Written By: Heath Marshall
The old recommendation that we’re all familiar with – drink at least 8 glasses of water per day for optimum health – turns out to have absolutely no basis in science. Keep reading to discover the truth about drinking water.
Water Is An Essential Nutrient
There are health consequences to allowing your body to become even slightly dehydrated. Water is one of the most essential nutrients we need to function properly or even just to survive.
You need water to stay active, becoming dehydrated can severely impact your athletic performance. Losing as little as 2% of your body’s healthy water levels will have a noticeable effect on your abilities. Becoming dehydrated during strenuous physical activity will result in:
- Impaired temperature control (increasing the risk of a heat injury)
- Reduced motivation to continue playing
- An increased feeling of fatigue
- An increased perception of difficulty moving
If you’re very active or exercising intensely; you need to stay hydrated to perform at your best.
Drinking Water Can Prevent Headaches
Dehydration will trigger headaches or migraine attacks in certain people.
There have been several medical studies performed that prove water can relieve headaches in people who are suffering from dehydration. Other studies have demonstrated that while drinking water had no effect on the frequency of head pain – it did significantly reduce the intensity and duration of symptoms.
This is understandable when you realize that a headache resulting from dehydration is a symptom of the brain shrinking within the confines of your head and stressing the structures that keep it positioned correctly near the inner surface of the skull.
Some researchers have gone as far as stating that that water deprivation headaches should be considered a separate medical condition from conventional and migraine headaches and appropriately categorized in medical literature.
Water And Weight Loss
It is a fact that drinking cold water will help in your weight loss efforts. Drinking water with a meal will make you feel full sooner and reduce your caloric intake. Incredibly; just drinking a quart of water per day (a little more than two glasses) has been shown to effectively increase your metabolism by up to 30% for around 1 1/2 hours.
What this means is that just drinking around 4 glasses of water every day will burn an extra 100 calories per day. That’s 700 calories per week!
Another study has shown that dieters who drank about 2 quarts of water before eating lost close to 50% more weight over a 3 month period.
Water Prevents Constipation
This is something many constipation sufferers don’t consider in the battle against this uncomfortable condition.
The standard solution for most people is the use of laxatives to stimulate healthy bowel function. Unfortunately, this can result in further dehydration as the laxative forces more water into the large intestine. As your water levels are depleted by laxative use, you find yourself depending on more laxative consumption to maintain regularity.
Eventually, you’ll begin to suffer the effects of general dehydration; headaches, fatigue, lethargy, etc.
Low water consumption has been proven to be a significant cause of constipation in both the very young and the elderly. Drinking enough water is an important way to both prevent and treat constipation.
Dehydration Causes Back Pain
There are 23 discs cushioning our spinal bones (vertebrae), and they are mostly made up of water. Unlike other tissues in our bodies, there is no direct blood flow to these critical structures, and the spinal discs must absorb water from the blood that circulates around them.
What happens when you’re dehydrated?
Those discs shrink, become less supple, and lose their vital shock absorbing ability. This can result in disc herniation, disc bulges, and the pain of unprotected shocks to your vertebrae.
Drinking enough water to keep your spinal discs hydrated is an important way to maintain your spinal health and avoid potentially crippling back pain.
How Much Is Enough?
How much water is enough? While the old recommendation of 8 glasses of water every day was scientifically baseless, it is true that you need to drink according to climate, activity levels, and the amount that you’re sweating. A good rule of thumb is to simply drink whenever you feel thirsty. For some additional reference on how much water is right for you checkout this post on PostiveHealthWellness.com
Additionally, it’s always a good idea to keep a source of water near you at all times so you can quickly have a drink when you feel you need one.
Every person’s body is different and the amount of water you’ll need to consume on a given day will be determined by many factors – factors that will frequently change depending on where you are, what you’re doing, the weather, and even how old you are.
Use your common sense, trust your body to tell you when you need a drink, and keep a handy source of water nearby at all times to maintain optimum health without worrying about being near a bathroom at all times!