It’s ironic that one of our basic needs as a human being is becoming a chore, thanks to the fast pace we run to chase higher pursuits. We tend to skip out on our necessary 8-10 glasses of water a day because we’re too busy, because we’d rather drink coffee, because we don’t like how water tastes, etc. etc. But there really shouldn’t be any excuse for not hydrating yourself, not if you understand the benefits of water to your body.
Here are eight reasons to drink more water – and how to make it easy!
1 – Water enhances energy
Water isn’t a source of energy by itself – it’s common knowledge that it’s the only real calorie-free drink out there! But water is such an integral part of the human body – 60% of it, in fact – that when there isn’t enough of it to go around, many functions can be significantly impaired. Water benefits everything from your brain’s cognitive function, your blood ferrying oxygen and nutrients around the body, to your muscles keeping you on the move throughout the day. Drinking more water every day nourishes these organs and ensures you have enough energy to carry you from one end of the day to the other.
Make It Easy: There’s a Japanese custom that dictates you drink 2-4 glasses of water first thing in the morning on an empty stomach. Starting your day with a healthy swig of water will kick start the day with high energy levels. Squeeze a lemon into your drink to add flavour – it’s tangy enough to wake you up! – as well as provide you with a protective dose of vitamin C.
2 – Water helps control weight
Water also helps with your weight control goals. Drinking water first thing in the morning jumpstarts metabolism – water cools you down internally, so the body reacts by raising your metabolism to generate heat. This makes you burn more calories throughout the rest of the day.
Further, drinking water prior to a meal helps with portion control. Imagine if you drank a full glass of water before eating instead of munching on the appetiser! Water in between meals also curbs appetite by filling up your stomach so you feel full for longer, and don’t feel the need to snack as much.
Make It Easy: If the munchies are uncontrollable, swap the chips for healthy snacks that hydrate you. Cucumber, celery sticks, watermelon, strawberries, grapefruit, grapes, cherries, and apricots are all excellent snacky fruits and vegetables with high water content. To avoid defeating the purpose, eat them raw – when you cook them, you reduce their water content.
3 – Water prevents constipation
If you’re not drinking enough water, the body will try to absorb as much water as it can from the food you’ve eaten as it passes through the colon. This leaves your stools dry, hard, and painful to pass. This also causes your bowel movements to become irregular. A benefit of drinking more water is keeping your stools soft and bowel movements regular.
Make It Easy: Install a water drinking app on your phone to remind you to hydrate. Plant Nanny, for example, allows you to grow a variety of cute virtual plants that will thrive when you complete your water-drinking goals and will die of dehydration if you don’t. The app takes your height, weight, and activity level into account and computes how much water you should be drinking, then sends you push notifications throughout the day when it’s time to drink.
4 – Water flushes out waste
The body excretes waste products and toxins via sweat and urine. Going to the bathroom several times a day should be viewed as a good sign that you’re reaping the benefits of water rather than an inconvenience!
Of course, if you don’t drink more water to replace what you’re excreting, you risk dehydration. The toxins and waste products stay in your body, putting you at risk for urinary tract infections, skin problems, and even kidney stones.
Make It Easy: Remember to replenish by using a water bottle that reminds you of your goals. Purchase special motivational water bottles like this one, or make your own! Simply pick a clear drinking bottle that allows you to see the current water level. Mark the bottle using tape and a marker with your time goals and even affirmations to keep you on track. Choose a water bottle that appeals to you – the more you like your bottle, the likelier you are to take it around with you to meet your water drinking goals!
5 – Water helps regulate temperature
Speaking of sweat, it does more than flush out toxins – it’s also related to regulating temperature. When you’re hot, your sweat glands excrete sweat onto your skin to encourage heat loss via evaporation. However, if you’re dehydrated, there’s no water to make sweat, and your internal temperature stays high. Think of it like a car overheating because it doesn’t have enough water!
Drinking water regularly allows you to sweat, cools you down, and prevents YOU from overheating so you can go on for miles and miles.
Make It Easy: Don’t forget to make sure you also have the right temperature of water! Aside from being more pleasant to drink, cold water quenches thirst faster, and also passes through your digestive system quicker than warm water, so it gets absorbed faster for use throughout the body. The American College of Sports Medicine recommends drinking water at a temperature between 10 – 22.2 degrees Celsius to get its full benefits.
6 – Water prevents headaches
A splitting headache can be a sign of dehydration. As previously mentioned, your brain is 75% water. If you’re not drinking enough water, the brain shrinks from fluid loss. It then pulls away from the skull, setting off pain receptors inside the skull. Blood vessels dilate and swell in an attempt to compensate by bringing more water and oxygen to the brain. Movement jostles the shrunken brain and makes the pain worse. This phenomenon is known as a dehydration headache.
Make It Easy: Get creative with your water! Many people don’t like drinking water because it tastes bland, empty, or even bitter. Jazz up its flavour by adding slices of lemon, fruits, ginger, and herbs. Sparkling water has the same benefits of regular water and makes a fizzy, textured alternative to soda.
7 – Water prevents hangovers
So you had one too many beers last night – no prompting from apps or water bottles needed there! Consuming large amounts of alcohol dehydrates the body, leading to a throbbing headache. Drink water throughout the night to dilute the alcohol and get it out of your system. This will make you less drunk because you’re excreting the alcohol instead of letting it circulate in your bloodstream. Especially drink a lot before bed to minimise your hangover the next morning.
Of course, if it’s at all possible, it’s really much better to just avoid alcohol altogether and stick to hydrating drinks!
Make It Easy: What’s better than a drinking buddy? An accountability partner to keep your motivation from wavering! Enlist a friend to join you in your goal to drink more water. Of course, being hydrated is enough of a prize, but you can up the stakes with friendly wagers – just make sure they’re in line with your healthy habits.
8 – Water nourishes skin
The skin is an organ – the largest organ in the body, in fact – and it needs water too! Lotions and moisturisers can work great, but they’re not replacements for adequate hydration from the inside out. Water keeps your skin soft and supple, and flushes out toxins that make skin look dull and old. Not drinking enough water causes dry skin that is flaky, itchy, inflamed, prone to acne breakouts or wrinkled.
Make It Easy: Add the benefits of drinking water to your beauty regimen. Make it a habit to drink a glass of water when you wash your face in the morning, and another when you wash at night. That’s two glasses of water down automatically!