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Maintaining great health requires rest, quality food, enough exercise and water. Without water, the rest of your systems can’t really function. Getting enough water will keep your muscles working and support your digestive health.
Keeps Muscles Fueled
Dehydrated muscles will not maintain strength, endurance or flexibility. Worse, as you dehydrate, your muscles may start to spasm and cramp. Being low on water will also cause your body temperature to climb more quickly, putting you at greater risk of heat stroke and dangerous levels of fatigue, even to the point of exhaustion.
Take frequent breaks when exercising, especially if you exercise to the point of perspiration. Stop, drink, breathe and walk for a bit. Drink water during your cool down, and if possible, drink after you stretch to refuel tired muscles with the water they’re craving.
Boost Mood and Memory
Our bodies are approximately 60% water. A fluid level drop can cause you to lose cognitive function. You may struggle to
- react quickly to dangerous situations
- think forward to the consequences of your actions
- maintain a good mood
- avoid headaches
Of course, the quality of your water supply matters a great deal. You may want to consider adding a countertop water filter, a refrigerator filter pitcher, or to find the best place to buy fridge filters. Having a few extra filters on hand will help you protect your brain from dehydration.
Protect Your Gut
Making sure you get plenty of water is critical to avoiding constipation. A sluggish gut can increase your inflammation level and lead to fecal impaction, which can be fatal. Even if you have a regular elimination schedule, not getting enough water can lead to excess straining and can cause hemorrhoids and other painful conditions.
Over the long term, chronic constipation can also lead to rectal prolapse and anal fissures. Carrying around a gut full of waste is hard on your energy level and can damage your self-esteem.
Support the Cleansing Organs
Your liver and kidneys work hard to carry toxins out of your body. These organs need water to move toxins out of the body. As blood flows through these organs, toxins are pulled out and filtered away. In the kidneys, these toxins are carried away as urine. Drinking too little water concentrates these toxins. If your urine is cloudy, foul smelling or a dark amber, get more water into your drinking routine.
The kidneys are particularly threatened by low water intake, and dehydration can contribute to kidney stones. The minerals that crystallize and form stones over time are more likely to be flushed away with enough water in your body.
The liver is also impacted by dehydration. Your liver is in charge of releasing glycogen into the bloodstream. If you’re dehydrated, the liver can’t take this step, so you may struggle with low blood sugar as well as dehydration. Since low blood sugar can lead to
which are the same symptoms that can crop up when you are dehydrated.
Maintain a Healthy Weight
If you struggle to lose weight, one of the challenges you may face is that you get a hungry feeling when you’re thirsty. If you can enjoy a cold glass of water each time you feel a rumble of hunger, you can be absolutely certain that your body needs sustenance in addition to the water you drank.
To be sure, try drinking water before each meal. Two 8 ounce glasses of water prior to each meal can convince your brain that you’re full, or at least more full than you would be without the 16 ounces of water. Once that feeling of fullness occurs, you can easily choose either a smaller portion or a to-go container as soon as your food lands on the table.
If you have long struggled with dehydration, start keeping refillable water bottles at the front of your refrigerator and reach for water each time you need something out of the fridge. Build a steady habit of “water first” every time you want something to eat or drink. Then add food or another beverage as required.