There’s no better feeling than waking up and drinking a glass of water, chugging a glass of H20 post-workout, or sipping it throughout the day. You may find yourself more refreshed, in a better mood, and more regular. Interestingly, it turns out that the eight glasses of water per day rule is just a myth. While there is no scientific evidence stating that eight glasses of water is necessary, water still is a vital aspect of your health – and makes us feel fantastic.
Humans can’t go more than three to four days without drinking water. Water makes up about 60% of the adult human body, and although eight glasses may not be totally necessary, there’s no reason to put down your water bottle just yet. Water is not only vital to survival, but can drastically improve your health and wellbeing. Every day you lose water through bowel movements, breathing, perspiration (especially strenuous exercise), and urine. You must replenish this water through drinking it or by eating various foods. Most foods contain water in them, and drinks like coffee and tea are full of it.
In addition to combatting dehydration, water makes your body a well-oiled machine. It lubricates your body, regulates your metabolism, assists in flushing waste, keeps you regular, regulates internal temperature, energizes muscles, allows injuries to heal better, and keep your body performing at peak efficiency. Water is the foundation of health.
So, how much water do we need? Water consumption is not a one-size-fits-all formula. Many recommend not following one general health formula.
“It depends on your size and weight, and also on your activity level and where you live,” Trent Nessler, PT, DPT, MPT, managing director of Baptist Sports Medicine in Nashville, says. “In general, you should try to drink between half an ounce and an ounce of water for each pound you weigh, every day.”
In addition, climate and activity level play crucial roles in determining how much water you need. If you live in a hotter climate and exercise regularly, you would need more. If you live in a cooler climate or are more sedentary, you’d need less.
Many don’t realize that 20% of our water intake comes from the foods you eat. Many foods, such as watermelon and spinach, contain 90% of water by weight and can drastically increase our water intake. Other fruits and vegetables with a high water content include: oranges, cantaloupe, honeydew, grapefruit, romaine lettuce, green peppers, celery, cucumbers, and tomatoes. Even milk and juice contain hefty amounts of water. Keep account of this when you are consciously trying to drink more water.
So why is water the secret to good health? Plenty of reasons, but first, “the human body is a water machine, designed to run primarily on water and minerals,” according to the Global Healing Center. Because our bodies are made up primarily of water, replenishing our bodies with clean water will help regulate our system more effectively.
Not convinced? One study showed that dehydration can lead to a negative mood, including confusion and fatigue. Drinking more water can increase your mood and give you a clearer head. Water can clear constipation by flushing out bacteria and keep your digestive tract moving along properly. Water can boost weight loss by allowing you to feel more full and eat less. Drink water before a meal to eat fewer calories.
Water makes us less sluggish and feel more energized, a common problem in the U.S. Unexplained fatigue is one of the first symptoms of dehydration, so next time you’re feeling tired, try sipping on some more water. Studies have shown that migraines may be triggered by dehydration. When you feel a headache coming on, drink two to four cups of water and feel your symptoms float away.
If you are thirsty, you are already dehydrated. Drink more water throughout the day by carrying around a water bottle, having a glass before every meal (including when you wake up and before you go to bed), and eat more water-based foods. Your body will thank you.