Even though water is so important for our health, it is still so common for people not to drink enough water every day. How many ounces of water are we even recommended to drink in a day? Most of us don’t even know. However, The Institute of Medicine recommends that we drink at least 101 ounces of water per day, which is a little under 13 cups.
Being mindful of your own personal water intake can start by simply drinking one more cup of water a day. It’s hard to sit here and convince yourself to drink a whole gallon of water like some trainers or nutritionists will tell you, but by starting off with small steps, you will drastically increase your health.
What specific health benefits does drinking water truly hold? The benefits are endless and the significance of water is the same for everyone of all ages and sizes. Since the majority of us are all still fairly young, I am going to highlight specific benefits water provides our age group. Our bodies and minds are still growing so it's important to consider these three main points when hydrating our bodies.
Water is beneficial in that it improves your mood, helps you focus, and aids in physical appearance. During my teen years, I would always hear a phrase that refered to teens as being really moody. This might be more true than we are willing to admit, but with the help of some water, we can improve our mood a lot more than we may realize. In a study conducted by The Institute of Medicine, researchers found that a normal fluid loss of 1.4% usually occurs daily due to physical activities, and just by going through your day impairs both mood and concentration. It is such a small percentage of water lost, but such high consequences if we don’t refuel our body with the water it naturally loses throughout the day. When you drink water, most people feel refreshed! When people feel refreshed they tend to be happier and more relaxed. Drinking more water actually makes you feel so refreshed that it can brighten your mood and improves your state of mind.
Secondly, drinking more water actually makes you smarter because it helps you think more clearly and work more efficiently! This is because when people get dehydrated their brain tissue naturally shrinks a little bit in size. This basically means if you don’t drink enough water, your brain is working a lot harder to do things that shouldn’t take that much effort. Sometimes, as a result, we develop headaches and migraines. A study observing 102 men found that drinking an additional 50.7 ounces of water per day resulted in significant improvements on the Migraine-Specific Quality of Life Scale, a scoring system for migraine symptoms. Basically, with just the help of water, and no other source of pain relief drugs, migraines were significantly reduced.
Lastly, something a lot of us may think about is our physical appearance, specifically our skin. Our skin actually contains plenty of water, and it also functions as a barrier to prevent loss of fluids. So when you’re dehydrated, your skin will usually look a bit dry and wrinkly. Proper hydration levels help the skin become plump and improve its elasticity meaning it's less likely to crack and have irritations or blemishes.
Two of the main reasons why people don't drink enough water are because they either forget to continually drink water throughout the day, or they simply do not enjoy the taste of water in general. However, after really understanding how important water is to both our mental and physical health, I think we can keep those benefits in mind to practice some easy strategies that will remind us to drink water throughout the day.
A couple of tips and tricks to drink your water!
An easy start could be simply making reminders to drink water. Options could be setting an alarm or even just writing it down in your planner. By setting an alarm three times a day or even by writing it down in a planner, it can remind us to take that extra second to fuel our bodies the way it needs. This way, it’s mentally stored in our heads as a “must do” task and less likely to be forgotten. Another helpful trick I’ve realized is to not make it a chore, but rather, make it fun.
People are more likely to perform an action when it’s something done out of desire. For instance, I’m sure we would all rather go hang out with our friends willingly compared to finishing a homework assignment that feels more like a chore.
We can also keep some alternatives in mind for those who don’t like water or are just bored with it. Flavor your water up by infusing your water with things like fruit, such as berries, mint, or cucumber to help make it more flavorful. Find tea flavors you like. The great thing about tea is that it doesn’t taste anything like water, even though, when it comes down to it, it’s just flavored water.
Although usually taken lightly, we all know in the back of our heads that consuming enough water a day is critical for our health. So why not start paying more attention to it? After all, it’s only a small task to complete a day to gain a large number of lifelong health benefits down the line. Whether you decide to just drink water normally or create some fun out of it, I encourage and even challenge you all to just start by drinking an extra serving of water today.