Pure, clean water is vital to the human body for survival, but also in all life on earth, like plants and animals. In every season, there are factors which tend to dehydrate us, such as sweating in the summer sunshine or heating our homes in the winter cold (i.e., dry heat). It is imperative that we keep our bodies well hydrated, and here are six substantial benefits of proper hydration.
1. Maximize Physical Health
Athletes can lose well over 6 percent of their water weight as they exercise and sweat. The effects of dehydration can become apparent at only a 2 percent loss of a body’s water content. As dehydration sets in, one often loses the ability to control body temperature, experiences escalating fatigue, and thus, diminished motivation to exercise. Because 80 percent of lean muscle mass is made of water, it’s a vital component to maximize one’s physical health.
2. Increase Energy Levels
Proper hydration promotes proper energy production, but once dehydrated, one can feel thirsty and fatigued. This fatigue can turn into carelessness and distraction. Worker productivity drops when dehydration becomes a factor. One study shows that, in forest workers, dehydration levels substantially over 1 percent could drop productivity 20-30 percent.
3. Increase Brain Function
Since the brain is made up of 73 percent water, brain function can be impaired by even mild dehydration. Short and long term memory is affected, as are mathematical abilities. Mood and concentration risks being undermined. Anxiety may be heightened by only mild to moderate dehydration. A study at Vanderbilt University Medical Center revealed that hydration makes us more alert and makes our fight or flight response more apt to serve us well.
4. Help Prevent & Treat Headaches
Researchers say that dehydration causes less flow of blood and oxygen through the brain, which causes dilated blood vessels. Pain signals can be manufactured due to a loss of electrolytes in the body and sent out by nerves in the brain. A careful balance of water in one’s system is the best way to prevent and treat headaches.
5. Improve Digestion
It’s of utmost importance that one’s body stays hydrated. When food reaches the large intestine, if the body is dehydrated, the intestine will draw water from the food, causing constipation. Not only does proper water consumption promote digestive health, but it also helps the body absorb the nutrients from food, promoting overall health.
6. Help with Weight Loss
Metabolism is a key factor in weight loss. Water not only boosts metabolism, but it augments satiety, as well. A Virginia Tech study revealed that drinking two glasses of water before each meal may reduce calorie consumption by over 1,500 calories per week.