The answer to this question depends on who you are, what your activity level is, and what you weigh. But regardless of age, weight, activity level and gender, it’s likely that you are not drinking enough water. Everyone benefits from drinking any amount of water, but drinking the right amount benefits you the most.
Some signs that you are not drinking enough water include feeling lightheaded and dizzy after sitting up or after exercising, bloating, fatigue and headaches. These are the symptoms you feel, but there are other body mechanisms that suffer when you don’t drink enough water. Dehydration leads to sluggishness. Sometimes we have been dehydrated for so long that we don’t even realize it.
Hydration is key to a healthy life and a healthy appearance. Water helps relieve bloating by washing toxins and salts from your body. Water helps manage weight and improves circulation. Water keeps your energy up, and builds endurance at the gym. Plus, your skin will thank you when you drink water. Are you drinking enough of it?
How Much Water Should I Drink?
Health experts agree that the amount of water you should drink depends on your weight. Your recommended daily intake is the measure of half of your body weight in ounces of water. In other words, take your current weight, and divide it by two. Then drink that many ounces of water per day.
For example, if you weigh 150 pounds, then you should drink 75 ounces of water per day. That’s a little over eight glasses of water.
If you aren’t used to drinking this much water per day, then you will find yourself visiting the restroom more frequently than usual but only at first. After a week, or even a few days, your body will begin to adjust to the increased water intake, and you won’t have the urge to use the restroom quite as often.
You will notice other changes to your body and your routine as well, and pretty much all of them are beneficial.
What Are The Benefits of Drinking Water?
Water has numerous health benefits. From weight loss, to lower toxicity, to skin improvements to muscle health, hydration helps your body function at its optimal levels.
The biggest overall benefit is weight loss. Chronic obesity and overweight conditions lead to adult diabetes, high blood pressure, stroke, and a range of other health problems. Sometimes the idea of losing weight can be daunting, but so are the health conditions that come along with not losing weight. If you are overweight and don’t know where to start the task of losing it all, then start with drinking water. Hydration is the key to weight loss.
When you choose water over sugary beverages, including juice, you cut down cravings for snacks and other foods. Often, what you might think are early-afternoon food cravings are actually cravings for water. If you drink before you eat, then you will eat less. You may even decide you aren’t hungry after all.
If you drink before you eat, then you will eat less. [tweet this]
Choosing water not only decreases food cravings but it also reduces calories. According to the U.S. Center for Disease Control,“Substituting water for one 20-ounce sugar sweetened soda will save you about 240 calories.”
Water’s temperature also plays a role in how many calories you burn. Drinking cold water burns more calories than drinking warm water. In other words, by drinking cold water you not only prevent yourself from gaining calories but you also manage to lose some.
There is also evidence that drinking 16 ounces of water prior to eating a meal decreases weight gain. Scientists from the University of Birmingham, in the United Kingdom, conducted a 12-month experiment on a group of obese adults. They found that those who drank 16 ounces of water prior to eating a meal lost an average of nine pounds over the course of the study. That’s a very good outcome, especially when considering that many popular weight loss programs recommend losing one-half to two pounds per week.
The scientists who conducted the study believe water plays a role in helping people feel fuller. They also suggest that water has other health benefits that contribute to weight loss. What these other roles might be are still being researched.
It is possible that the link between water and improved digestion can be responsible for some of the weight loss associated with drinking water.
Improved Digestion and Decreased Bloating
There is no doubt among physicians and other medical experts that drinking water helps push toxins out of the body, and also helps the body digest food more effectively. How does this work?
Water makes up 50 to 60 percent of body mass. As it circulates throughout the body, water transports nutrients and electrolytes into cells while washing toxins and waste out. The more water in your system the better this exchange of waste products out and nutrients in. Additionally, there are body substances that rely on water to do their job. In fact, all of your organs function better when their cells are plumped up with the water they need to perform their jobs.
Here’s an example: Your gastrointestinal lining relies on water-based lubricants to help transport waste. When you consume your body’s optimal amount of water daily, these lubricants are better able to do their job. Your digestion improves, and toxins are flushed out of your system regularly.
Though not a toxin, salt can cause bloating and discomfort. Drinking water relieves bloating because it flushes salts from the body. You may not realize how much salt you consume each day because salt is frequently hidden in processed foods. If you are experiencing bloating, then drinking water can reduce your discomfort regardless of where your salt intake comes from.
People forget that skin is also an organ. Like any other body part, skin requires water to function properly. Skin acts as a protective layer and creates a barrier between the environment and the rest of your body. Skin is elastic because it has to be adaptive, and skin is porous to allow for exchange of air and carbon dioxide. In order for pores to function and for skin to stay firm, your skin needs water.
Drinking water keeps your pores clear, reducing acne. It also keeps your skin elastic, reducing wrinkling, creping and other signs of aging or distress.
After increasing your daily water consumption on a regular basis, dermatologistsagree that after several weeks your skin will take on a healthier, “radiant,” appearance.
Lowered Risk of Joint Injury
Just as water helps your gastrointestinal system function better, water helps your joints function better. Within each joint are pockets of fluid surrounding the areas where bones and cartilage meet. This fluid is composed primarily of water, which acts as a cushion around joints, protecting them from jerky movements that form tears, create sprains or cause dislocations. Not only does water cushion joints but it also protects your spinal cord.
If you feel dizzy or lightheaded when working out, then you are most likely dehydrated. When your body is stressed due to dehydration, you are more prone to injury and fatigue. Working out under stress is definitely not optimal. More harm can come to your body than good.
Just as you would calculate the number of calories you need to consume to energize your workout, you should determine how much water you need to keep your body prepared for increased physical activity. Drinking the required amount of water throughout the day helps ensure that you have the hydration you need, both to finish a workout and to keep your form throughout it.
Remember that drinking water is a daily practice. Although it is a good idea to drink water both before and after a workout. Drinking water daily keeps your body at its optimal level.
Some critics suggest that the amount of calories lost when consuming cold water doesn’t amount to much, however consider the role water plays in helping your body regulate temperature.
The body must maintain an internal temperature that is close to 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit. When your body temperature is at this level, all your internal chemistry is firing correctly. When your body temperature rises above or falls below this level then your internal chemistry is off-kilter. This can lead to headaches, poor coordination, slow response time and a number of other health issues.
Your body works hard to maintain a stable core temperature, which is why your body works hard to make the cold water you drink turn hot.
Now think about where you live. If you live in a hot environment it makes sense for you to drink more water, so your body remains cool. If you live in a cold environment you might be more prone to dehydration because you aren’t as thirsty. No one really likes the thought of drinking a cool glass of water during a snowstorm. Yet, you need water badly in cold environments to keep your core temperature up.
If you live in temperatures that are above or below a comfortable 72 degrees Fahrenheit, then it makes sense to drink adequate amounts of water to regulate your body temperature.
There are so many physical benefits that come from drinking water daily. One non-biological benefit is the amount of money you will save. Replacing diet drinks, juices and other beverages with filtered water will save money. Simply fill up reusable bottles with water, and with the money you save you just might upgrade your gym membership.
How soon will I notice results?
After drinking the daily amount of water required for your climate, body weight and activity level, you should start to notice results within a month. In the first few hours and days you will rarely, if ever, become dizzy or lightheaded. You will feel more energetic, and your mind will feel sharper. After a few more days, your skin will appear clearer and your complexion healthier. You will notice less bloating and improved digestion. By the end of the month, your workouts will become less strenuous, and your energy levels will rise.
Internally, your organs will have what they need to break down nutrients and make them available to your muscles. Your joints will be better protected, and your internal chemistry will be firing away. Even when you feel better, don’t stop drinking water. This is a daily ritual. Your body will thank you every single day.
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