March Wellness: Drink Water and Live Better
We all know how important it is to stay hydrated, especially during the hot summer months. But did you know that drinking water can significantly impact your overall health and your work performance, even in the winter?
Water is cheap to drink, an easy habit to practice and offers countless benefits. This month's challenge is to hit your hydration goal every day for a week (more on that below). Resist the temptation to hit the local pop shop to get you through adrenaline-filled days - the water in your dirty diet coke doesn't count.
Here are a few tips:
- Set a small goal that you can increase as you succeed
- Drink water when you first wake up, before meals and before going to sleep
- Carry a water bottle or travel mug with you and refill it throughout the day
- Keep an insulated water cup in your car, and take a drink every time you get in or out
According to Dr. Greg Wells, a physiologist and expert in health and performance, water helps transport the carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients your cells need to produce energy. As a result, it helps boosts energy production in the body, prevents headaches, improves the elimination of toxins, and supports the skin, bowels, and eyes.
Water isn't just crucial for health. It also improves cognitive function. 60% of your body weight is made up of water, but it makes up almost 90% of your brain. Water helps you to think, concentrate, problem-solve, and remember.
Dr. Wells explains dehydration can lead to various adverse effects on the body. These include:
- Decreased cognitive function and mental clarity
- Reduced physical performance and endurance
- Increased risk of injury
- Poor digestion and constipation
- Headaches and migraines
- Mood swings and irritability
He also emphasizes that even mild dehydration, which can occur when we don't drink enough fluids throughout the day, can have these adverse effects. For example, research has shown that even a 1% decrease in hydration levels can lead to a 12% decrease in cognitive performance.
So, how much water should we be drinking to stay properly hydrated?
The Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology recommends the following:
- Men: 3.7 litres (about 13 cups) per day
- Women: 2.7 litres (about 9 cups) per day
- However, this can vary depending on factors such as physical activity level, age, and climate.
So, as we head into the warmer months, let's commit to prioritizing our hydration. Not only will it help us feel better and perform better, but it's also an essential part of taking care of our overall health and well-being.
Why Drinking Water Is So Important - Institute of Human Anatomy
TED: Water, Cells, and Life | Dr. Gerald Pollack | TEDxNewYorkSalon
TED-Ed: What would happen if you didn't drink water? - Mia Nacamulli