We all think we are drinking enough, but are we really? Why is water so important anyway? You might say to yourself, “I’m not thirsty, so why should I drink water?” There are numerous benefits to water—many of these benefits we can’t physically feel, but are so important to help us our bodies perform at maximum potential both in and out of the gym.
In my opinion, probably the most important reason why we should drink more water: Water energizes and lubricates muscles. Muscle that isn’t well hydrated will “shrivel,” decrease performance, and will put you at risk for injury. I like to think of our muscles like sponges; if the sponge is wet, it has less of a chance of ripping; if the sponge is dry, it has more of a chance of ripping. Your muscles work the same way!
Water helps maintain the balance of body fluids. Your body is 60% water! All of our body functions rely on water: digestion, absorption, temperature regulation, creation of saliva, and transfer of nutrients.
Water aids in weight loss! Okay, it doesn’t directly make you lose weight, however, it replaces sugary, calorie packed beverages that add up and enable you to pack on extra pounds. Filling up on water instead of unnecessary drinks such as soda, sweet tea, or alcohol will help you feel more satisfied, help you cut calories, and support you in your weight loss journey. Drinking 8-16 ounces of water before you consume a meal can prevent you from overeating.
Water helps kidney function. Your body fluids help flush toxins out of your cells, and your kidneys filtrate the fluids. If there is no fluid to filtrate, the toxins cannot be flushed out. In other words, the toxins will be stuck in your body! This makes you feel lethargic, run down, and could potentially put you at risk for having kidney stones.
Water helps the appearance and health of your skin. Our skin is the largest organ in our body, and is beat up enough by pollution and sun. Don’t do any more damage by dehydrating it! Proper hydration can help your skin look smoother, younger, and could reduce the appearance of wrinkles. And who doesn’t want great looking skin?
Bottom line: get your water in! Keep a water bottle with you at all times, know how many it takes to hit your goal and keep track of how much you have drank. You should drink at least half of your body weight in ounces of water per day (example: a 200lb person should drink 100oz of water.) Keep in mind that if you live in a dry, hot climate, you should drink even more!
Heather Weber, CPT, CES