What if I told you I have a simple, budget-friendly trick to boost your health and help you feel better almost instantly? It’s not some magic pill or crazy diet. It’s water. W-a-t-e-r, water. Almost every individual I interact with has some sort of complaint that could be fixed with proper water consumption. Headaches, fatigue, joint pain, certain cravings, bloated stomach, the list goes on and on. Let me explain a few benefits of proper hydration:
- Water helps with weight loss. It does this by acting as an appetite suppressant, helping to remove waste, and helping nutrients enter the body.
- Water helps eliminate toxins, as mentioned above. Water is needed for the kidneys to successfully remove toxins from the blood. What a cheap and effective “detox”…
- Water gives you more energy. This occurs when water in combined with a balanced diet allowing the body to absorb vital nutrients. Water helps you digest and absorb your food more efficiently.
- Water helps to lubricate our joints, making movement easier and less painful.
- Water also helps to energize our muscles.
- Water helps to boost our immune system. It helps fight bacteria and production of lymph which circulates white blood cells.
- Water lowers stress and anxiety. This is important, because stress damages our DNA which makes us more susceptible to disease, anxiety, and heart problems.
- Water improves heart and brain health. It dilutes blood, reducing blood clots and lubricating blood vessels.
- Water helps prevent dehydration and overheating. I’ll show why this is so important below.
All of these things work together (as you can see from numbers 1-3) to help our body function properly and without many problems. Let’s take a look at what happens when you don’t properly hydrate your body:
- Dehydration accelerates rate of fatigue. The less hydrated you are the faster you will get tired. This is especially apparent during hard work.
- Dehydration lowers the body’s ability to sweat and therefore cool off. Without this ability we can become overheated quickly.
- Dehydration creates a “mental fog”. This can slow thinking and keep you in a daze. The worst is that you may make poor decisions, or take too long to make life-threatening decisions.
- Dehydration can increase the risk of heat stroke. This is a serious condition that can occur with the loss of body fluid.
- Dehydration causes body pain. This can include headaches as well as joint pain.
- Dehydration creates a stress response in the body that is similar to the “fight or flight” response. This response will do internal damage to the body.
Dehydration should be taken very seriously. If you are working out or doing any sort of hard work or are loosing body water it is important to replenish it.
Next time you are practicing a hard workout, doing yard work in the sun, or anything that makes you sweat, breath heavily, or otherwise eliminate water try this:
Weigh yourself prior to the activity. This will be called our “Initial Weight” or I. After the activity is done, weigh yourself again. We will call this weight the “Ending Weight” or E. Now follow the formula given to determine the percent of body water lost.
(I-E) / I x 100 = % of Body Water Lost
At 0.5% body water lost we experience an increased strain on the heart. Shortly after that (1%) our bodies experience reduced aerobic endurance. At 3% our muscular endurance is also reduced. At 4% body water lost we face reduced muscle strength, reduced motor skills, and heat cramps. Next (5%) our bodies experience heat exhaustion, cramping, fatigue, and a reduced mental capacity. At this time our bodies are starting to fail considerably, and our mental ability to make the wise choice to hydrate ourselves is diminished. At 6% body water lost physical exhaustion sets in and we can expect heat stroke and a coma to result. Anywhere beyond 10% can result in death.
Water and hydration may seem quite simple. And it may not seem like the end of the world to face a little headache in the afternoon after a salty lunch, but as demonstrated above hydration is key in keeping our bodies healthy. Focus on consuming enough water to keep your body functioning properly. For some people aiming for 64 oz. daily may suffice. Others may want to divide their body weight (in pounds) in half and consume that many ounces (if I weigh 124 lbs, I would need to consume 62 oz.). Test out what works best for you.
As I said this may seem simple, but if you have more questions please reach out. Water and hydration can make you feel 100% better, but ignoring them can be dangerous!