Why is Hydration Important?
We all need hydration for our bodies. Nerves, muscles and all of the body’s other functional systems work better when water and electrolytes are balanced. Keeping the body hydrated by drinking water helps to control body temperature, removes waste through urine, controls the heart rate and blood pressure and maintains a healthy metabolism. Keep reading to learn more about why we need to drink water to keep our bodies healthy.
How Water Helps
Water helps the body’s metabolic processes, lubricates joints and helps muscles function at an optimal level. It also aids in digestion and helps suppress the appetite. Water is critical for heart health because it helps blood more easily pump through the heart and vessels. When you are well-hydrated, your heart does not have to work as hard.
If you are not sufficiently hydrated, your body can have some adverse reactions. If your body gets severely dehydrated, you can become confused, be unable to stand or walk, become easily fatigued or suffer from severe anxiety. In extreme cases, you can have a weak and rapid pulse and may even faint.
Unfortunately, our bodies do a good job of masking mild dehydration. You often will not experience any symptoms early on. When dehydration gets worse, you may experience headaches or muscle cramps.
How to Hydrate
If you are not a fan of water, or simply find it difficult to fit in enough glasses of water into your daily routine, you have other options. Common water-based beverages like coffee and tea count toward your hydration. Even though it is not the best option, drinking pop can also help to hydrate your body. However, sugary drinks can upset your stomach if you are dehydrated and they also have lots of calories. So, they should be used in moderation. It should also be noted that the coffee, tea, and pop contain caffeine, which is a diuretic that causes the body to lose fluids. So, caffeine should be limited to get the best benefits from it.
Hydration Through Food
Eating foods with a high percentage of water can also help to keep you hydrated. Some of the best foods to choose include cucumber, oranges, watermelon, celery, and bell peppers.
Sports drinks contain electrolytes that can help your body absorb water. So, they are particularly helpful to drink when you are losing water during vigorous exercise. It is crucial to read the labels of any sports drink you consume to make sure it does not contain too much sugar or caffeine. Also, keep in mind that sports drinks are not the same as energy drinks. Energy drinks tend to contain large amounts of caffeine and sugar. So, they are not a good choice for hydrating your body.
How Much Water Do You Need?
Although the old standard has always been that adults need 64 ounces of water a day, that is not necessarily the case. The amount of water one needs varies and is dependent on the individual. Thirst is not the best indicator of the need for water. If you are thirsty, your body is already dehydrated. The color of your urine is a much better indicator. The average person should drink enough fluid so that urination happens every two-to-four hours. The urine should also be a light yellow color. If your urine is dark it is a clear indication that you are dehydrated.
People Who Need More Water
Some external factors can dictate that you may need more water than the average person. If you live in or visit a warm climate, you will need to increase your fluid consumption. Similarly, if you naturally sweat more than average, you will need to drink more water to replace what you lose. People with health issues like heart disease or diabetes need extra water throughout the day, as do people who take certain medications that have a diuretic effect. You should also increase your fluid intake if you exercise a lot, are out in the heat and/or sun.
Water helps your body with all of its processes and functions. Without the proper amount of water, you risk dehydrating yourself, which can bring about many problems. Remember to be good to your body and hydrate throughout the day. If you want to treat your body even better, treat yourself to some massage therapy!
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