We’re constantly losing water from our bodies, primarily via urine and sweat. There are many different opinions on how much water we should drink every day – the common opinion is 8-ounce glasses, which equals about two liters (half gallon). As with most things, this depends on the individual and there are many factors (both internal and external) that ultimately affect our need for water throughout the day.
Can more water increase energy levels and improve brain function?
Studies shows that if we’re not staying hydrated throughout the day, our energy levels and brain function can start to suffer. In one study focused on women, a fluid loss of 1.36% after exercise impaired both mood and concentration while increasing the frequency of headaches. However, keep in mind that just 1% of body weight is a fairly significant amount. This happens primarily when you’re sweating a lot, such as during exercise or high heat. Mild dehydration can also negatively affect physical performance, leading to reduced endurance.
Bottom line: Mild dehydration from exercise or heat can negatively impact both physical and mental performance.
Does more water help prevent health problems?
If you drink more water, you may resolve some common health problems.
- Constipation: Increasing water intake can help reduce constipation – a very common issue.
- Kidney stones: Drinking more water appears to decrease the risk of kidney stones.
- Muscle cramps/spasms: Adequate hydration can prevent cramps and spasms.
- Headaches: More water helps prevent headaches and migraines, as well as decrease the pain and intensity.
- Heartburn: This can be a sign of dehydration so increasing water intake can prevent and cure heartburn.
Tips for hydrating during the work day:
- 1. Keep a 32 oz. water bottle at your desk so you can constantly sip on water.
- 2. Start the day off with a glass of water.
- 3. Download an app for a water reminder so you are constantly hydrating.
- 4. Make it a rule to drink a cup of water for every cup of coffee.
- 5. Eat vegetables and/or fruits with your lunch and have them as snacks throughout the day – they contain high water content to help you stay hydrated.
- 6. If you struggle to chug regular water, try flavored sparkling water or add some fruit to your water such as lemon, lime, orange or cucumber slices.
- 7. Drink a glass of water before you eat lunch. Not only will it hydrate you, but it will also help you feel full faster, and you’ll eat less.
- 8. Make sure to replace all fluids lost during a workout – otherwise you’ll be fighting a losing battle the rest of the day.
- 9. The more water you drink during the day, the more you’ll have to get up to use the bathroom. This helps keep you moving and is better for your body than sitting for eight straight hours.