Think of water as a nutrient your body needs that is present in liquids, plain water, and foods. All of these are essential daily to replace the large amounts of water lost each day. When your water intake does not equal your output, you can become dehydrated. Fluid losses are accentuated in warmer climates, during strenuous exercise, in high altitudes, and in older adults, whose sense of thirst may not be as sharp.
Here are some reasons to make sure you are drinking enough water every day!
1. Drinking Water Helps Maintain the Balance of Body Fluids. Your body is composed of about 60% water. The functions of these bodily fluids include digestion, absorption, circulation, creation of saliva, transportation of nutrients, and maintenance of body temperature. When you are low on fluids, the brain triggers the body thirst mechanism.
2. Water Can Help Control Calories. For years, dieters have been drinking lots of water as a weight loss strategy. While water does not have any magical effect on weight loss, substituting it for higher calorie beverages can certainly help. What works with weight loss is if you choose water or a non-caloric beverage over a caloric beverage and/or eat a diet higher in water-rich foods that are healthier, more filling, and help you trim calorie intake.
3. Water Helps Energize Muscles. Cells that do not maintain their balance of fluids and electrolytes shrivel, which can result in muscle fatigue. When muscle cells do not have adequate fluids, they do not work as well and performance can suffer. Drinking enough fluids is important when exercising. These guidelines of American College of Sports Medicine recommend that people drink about 17 ounces of fluid about two hours before exercise. During exercise, they recommend that people start drinking fluids early, and drink them at regular intervals to replace fluids lost by sweating.
4. Water Helps Keep Skin Looking Good. Your skin contains plenty of water, and functions as a protective barrier to prevent excess fluid loss. Dehydration makes your skin look drier and wrinkled, which can be improved with proper hydration. But once you are adequately hydrated, the kidneys take over and excrete excess fluids. You can also help lock moisture into your skin by using moisturizer, which creates a physical barrier to keep moisture in.
5. Water Helps Your Kidneys. Body fluids transport waste products in and out of cells. The main toxin in the body is blood urea nitrogen, a water-soluble waste that is able to pass through the kidneys to be excreted in the urine. Your kidneys do an amazing job of cleansing and ridding your body of toxins as long as your intake of fluids is adequate. When you are getting enough fluids, urine flows freely, is light in color and free of odor. When your body is not getting enough fluids, urine concentration, color, and odor increases because the kidneys trap extra fluid for bodily functions. If you chronically drink too little, you may be at higher risk for kidney stones, especially in warm climates.
6. Water Helps Maintain Normal Bowel Function. Adequate hydration keeps things flowing along your gastrointestinal tract and prevents constipation. When you do not get enough fluid, the colon pulls water from stools to maintain hydration -- and the result is constipation. Adequate fluid and fiber is the perfect combination, because the fluid pumps up the fiber and acts like a broom to keep your bowel functioning properly.