How to Stay Hydrated: 7 Reasons Why It Matters
Posted on June 22, 2023 | BY Polar Camel USA
Have you ever stopped to consider what happens to your body when you don’t drink enough water?
You’ve probably woken up with a dry mouth and morning breath more times than you can count. It’s natural to become mildly dehydrated while you sleep, but chronic dehydration can have serious impacts on your health.
Eight cups of water a day may sound like a lot to swallow, but don’t worry.
Keep reading to learn how to stay hydrated – and why it isn’t optional.
1: Hydration Improves Brain Function and Energy Levels
Three-quarters of your brain is water.
Staying hydrated is crucial for brain function and energy levels. Even mild dehydration impacts your brain function. When you don’t keep hydrated, you’ll notice symptoms like fatigue and confusion and have difficulty concentrating.
Mild headaches are also a sign of low fluid intake.
Why does water affect your energy levels?
It’s involved in the process of metabolism, which is how your body converts food into energy. Staying hydrated helps your body produce energy more efficiently, leading to an increase in energy levels.
2: Hydrate for a Healthier Heart
Your heart is your body’s engine and works around the clock to supply your organs with oxygenated blood.
It needs sufficient fluids to do so efficiently – it’s important to stay hydrated to maintain a healthy heart. When you’re dehydrated, your heart is forced to work harder to pump blood. This increases your heart rate and blood pressure as a result.
Staying hydrated makes your heart’s job easier. It can lower your heart rate and blood pressure, and reduce your risk of heart disease in the long run.
3: Hydration Reduces Headaches
Do you find yourself frequently suffering from headaches throughout the day? Dehydration is a common trigger for headaches and head-splitting migraines.
Why does this happen?
When you’re dehydrated, your brain can temporarily contract due to the lack of fluids, causing a dehydration headache. Keeping your fluid intake high helps to prevent these headaches and it’s worth evaluating how much water you drink each day if you’re prone to migraines and headaches.
4: Hydration Aids Your Digestion
Your digestion is how your body breaks down food to generate energy from it.
And as you might have guessed, water plays a crucial role in the process. It’s both necessary for the function of your gastrointestinal tract and involved in the breakdown of food and absorption of nutrients.
Without enough water, your body struggles to digest food effectively and absorb nutrients from it. This can lower your energy levels and leave you feeling lethargic – and it can cause digestive problems like bloating and constipation.
Drinking a healthy amount of water allows your body to use all of the nutrients from your food.
5: Better Kidney Health
Your kidneys regulate your body’s water balance and remove waste products from your blood. Chronic dehydration forces your kidneys to work harder to filter waste, which can damage your kidneys over time.
It also increases your risk of developing kidney stones, which can be very painful to pass.
Staying hydrated not only mitigates this risk but also helps your kidneys remove toxins from your body effectively.
6: Better Temperature Regulation
Water is crucial for your body’s ability to regulate its temperature.
When you’re physically active or in a hot environment, you sweat. Sweat cools the body as it evaporates and it’s a vital evolutionary tool that sets humans apart from most other mammals.
However, profuse sweating causes you to lose a lot of water fast. Some people can sweat as much as 2-3 liters (60-100 fluid ounces) per hour. If you’re not properly hydrated, your body won’t be able to produce enough sweat to cool down.
Overheating and heatstroke can result.
Staying hydrated gives your body the fluids it needs to maintain a normal temperature, allowing you to perspire as necessary.
7: Hydration Helps in Managing Weight
Weight management is a common struggle for people everywhere.
While the two most prevalent factors in weight management are diet and exercise, water is another vital piece of the puzzle. Drinking water helps with your digestion and metabolism (above).
It also helps you to control your appetite. Drinking water before and between meals helps you feel fuller, which can prevent overeating.
Additionally, choosing water instead of sugary drinks and other high-caloric fluids like alcohol can significantly reduce your calorie intake.
The Science Behind Hydration
Drinking water replenishes the fluids that your body loses. Sweating, digesting, urinating, and even breathing are all ways we lose water. When we’re properly hydrated, our bodies carry out these processes effectively.
The body’s water management is regulated by the kidneys. These organs filter out excess water and retain it as needed. However, it’s inevitable that fluids get lost and need replenishing.
When you’re adequately hydrated, your kidneys remove toxins and waste products efficiently. Chronic dehydration, however, makes it harder for your kidneys to function, which can lead to kidney stones and other health problems.
Our bodies tell us when it’s time to drink by making us feel thirsty.
But the problem is that you may already be mildly dehydrated by then. So, drinking water at regular intervals is vital – even if you don’t feel thirsty.
How to Stay Hydrated Throughout the Day
Keeping hydrated through the day isn’t just about drinking water – though that’s a core requirement. It demands healthy habits and consistent monitoring of your fluids.
One of the easiest ways to stay hydrated is to start your day with a glass of water. This helps kick-start your hydration for the day and replenishes any fluids you lose while asleep.
Meals are a great reminder to drink something, so drinking a glass of water beforehand is a healthy habit to develop.
Another source of fluids is water-rich foods. Most fruits and vegetables contain vital minerals and vitamins the body needs, and many of them are high in water content. Cucumbers, tomatoes, and watermelon all contain a lot of water, and including them in your diet increases your water intake.
Finally, carrying a water bottle with you makes it easier to drink and easier to keep track of how much you’re drinking. Reusable water bottles help reduce plastic waste and work out far cheaper in the long run.
Practical Ways to Stay Hydrated
Water enthusiasts love drinking water.
But if you find your water is too bland for your tastes, there are other ways of “spicing it up” to appeal to your palate. Two favorites include adding a slide of lemon or cucumber to your water to make it more appealing.
Doing so adds a splash of flavor without adding unnecessary sugar or calories.
One practical tip for app lovers is to use a hydration app. These apps remind you to drink water throughout the day and can help you track your water intake.
When staying hydrated, it’s important to remain mindful of your alcohol and caffeine consumption. Both of these substances have a diuretic effect, which means they can cause your body to lose more water than it’s taking in. The diuretic effect is one of the common causes of a hangover after a night of drinking.
Balancing your intake of such beverages with plenty of water is the healthier option that can mitigate the negative effects. However, the best solution is to limit the amount of caffeine and alcohol you consume in the first place.
Can I Drink Too Much Water?
The short answer is “yes”. Known as water intoxication, excessive water consumption is harmful to the body because it disrupts the body’s electrolyte balance.
In practice, though, water intoxication doesn’t occur unless you’re consuming far more per day than you need. Most adults require around 2 liters (64 fluid ounces) of water per day as a rule of thumb.
Physical activity, sweating, and hot climates can all increase the body’s water requirement. You should consider increasing your water intake if you live in a hot county or do a lot of exercise.
It’s worth reiterating that water intake doesn’t come exclusively from plain water. Herbal tea, fruit-infused water, and low-sugar drinks are all acceptable alternatives, and the water-rich foods we mentioned above can help with your daily hydration needs.
The key is to pay attention to your body’s needs and keep a water diary if you feel you need to. Dry mouth, dark urine, and fatigue are very common symptoms of a lack of water.
Stay Hydrated Throughout the Day
With the practical tips in this guide, you know the importance of drinking water and understand how to stay hydrated.
Drinking enough water boosts brain function and energy levels and supports your vital organs. Staying hydrated is a conscious decision you make every day about your diet and lifestyle.
Polar Camels offers a wide range of temperature-resistant tumblers, cups, and tight-seal water bottles for water enthusiasts! Click here to browse our selection.