While you often hear healthcare professionals telling you to drink more water, you might not know how water helps your body and mind. In this article, we review 20 benefits of drinking water and staying hydrated. We also discuss how much water you should be drinking each day, and provide some tips on how to drink more water.
Here are 20 benefits of drinking water and keeping our bodies hydrated.
1. Keeps You Operating As Intended
With your body consisting of more than 60% water, drinking a sufficient amount of water is important to keep it operating as expected.
As mentioned throughout this article, water plays an important role in many bodily functions such as cognitive processes, regulating body temperature, removing waste, and transporting nutrients.
Staying hydrated is crucial to ensure your body has enough water to perform these bodily functions efficiently and effectively.
2. Helps You Avoid Dehydration
Dehydration can be defined as when the body loses more fluids than it is receiving. Your body naturally loses fluids every day through regular functions such as breathing, removing waste (urine and feces), and sweating.
However, your body loses more fluids when you are exposed to warmer climates for extended periods, when you exercise, and when you are sick. It is especially crucial to replenish lost fluid during and after these scenarios.
When you don’t replenish the fluids your body has lost in a timely manner, you begin to experience symptoms of mild dehydration. Symptoms can include a dry mouth, headache, sticky saliva, nausea, feeling faint, dizziness and dark-colored urine.
If left untreated, mild dehydration can lead to severe dehydration which requires immediate attention from a healthcare professional.
3. Increases Your Performance In Sports
The performance of an athlete during sporting activities can be greatly affected by the amount of water they drink.
When you exercise, your body starts to heat up. As a result, your body begins to sweat as a way to cool itself down, allowing you to maintain a high level of performance.
Drinking water before, during, and after exercise can help replenish the significant amount of fluids your body loses from sweating. Water also helps to increase the length and intensity of your exercise by helping to prevent muscle cramps.
Additionally, drinking water can help to improve your brain function (discussed more in the next section) by increasing your alertness and the speed of your decision-making ability while playing sports. As a result, you can minimize the number of unforced errors you have during high-intensity games.
4. Increases Your Brain Function
As mentioned above, drinking water helps to increase your brain function in sports performance by increasing your alertness and decision-making abilities. Outside of sports, your brain operates no differently.
When you aren’t drinking enough water you will have a difficult time focusing, you won’t be as efficient, and you may have some issues with short-term memory. Your brain is over 70% water, so it is no surprise that you perform best by drinking more water.
5. Helps You Lose Weight
Drinking water can help benefit your weight loss efforts in a number of different ways.
Firstly, an important part of healthy weight loss is regular exercise. Drinking water helps to keep muscles, organs, and joints working as intended. Having muscles that are well-hydrated helps to prevent cramps when you are exercising for extended periods and as you increase intensity.
Additionally, drinking water helps with weight loss as it contains zero calories. Although many consider water to be plain and tasteless, water is a healthier alternative to sugary filled drinks that contain large amounts of calories.
A popular tip by most weight loss programs is to drink a glass of water before each meal as it helps to suppress your appetite.
This tip helps to reduce calorie intake because your stomach begins to feel full from the water. As a result, your stomach sends a message to your brain to stop eating, and you don’t consume as much food.
Also, your body has a hard time determining the difference between thirst and hunger. Instead of eating a snack, try drinking a glass of water first to see if your feeling of hunger passes.
Finally, drinking water helps to remove waste from your body, which otherwise could add a few extra pounds. It does this by increasing the effectiveness of your kidneys as well as decreasing the likelihood of you having constipation.
6. Reduces Your Joint Pain
The cartilage in your body has many different functions. One of its main uses is to connect bones by providing lubrication in different joints.
Cartilage is a strong substance but it provides more elasticity and flexibility than bones due to its high water content. In some cases, cartilage has a water content of 80%.
As a result of its high water content, cartilage is directly affected when you become dehydrated. Therefore, it can no longer provide the same lubrication to your joints or cushion the forces between bones. You can feel this by the pain you experience in your joints.
While a healthcare professional might prescribe you some medication to deal with the pain, first try drinking water. Drinking water will keep your cartilage hydrated so it can provide lubrication to your joints, support your bones, and help reduce joint pain.
7. Reduces Your Back Pain
Similar to how drinking water can help to reduce joint pain, a comparable theory can be applied to reducing back pain.
Spinal discs sit between your vertebrae and help to absorb the forces that act on your back as you go about your day. These forces can be a result of you sitting, walking, running, jumping, etc.
The discs contain outer and inner rings. Inner rings have a high water content and help to cushion compression and torsion forces. The outer ring, while still containing water, is tougher to protect the nucleus or inner ring.
Naturally, your spinal discs begin to lose water throughout the day. As they lose water, the inner ring no longer provides the same cushion and support to the forces acting on your back.
Instead, the tougher outer ring takes the brunt of the forces. As a result, you feel pain because the outer ring does not provide the same cushioning. You can especially feel pain during high impact activities.
Drinking more water can help to reduce the back pain you might be experiencing by keeping your spinal discs hydrated.
8. Helps You Prevent Dehydrated Skin
Another benefit of drinking water is that it helps keep your skin hydrated. A simple pinch test can be a strong indicator to tell if your skin is dehydrated.
If you notice some wrinkles around where you pinch your cheek, or if the skin doesn’t bounce back to its normal position, it could mean you are suffering from mild dehydration.
When your skin is dehydrated, it may feel tight and itchy, look dull in color from a buildup of dead skin cells, and lines or wrinkles may appear more noticeable.
However, when you are drinking enough water, your skin feels healthy and elastic. The rate at which new skin cells replace dead skin cells increases. This makes your skin look bright and glowing.
9. Helps Improve Your Outlook
Your hydration levels can strongly affect your outlook on life.
When you are dehydrated, you can become more easily irritated and frustrated. Situations that wouldn’t usually annoy you may have a greater impact on your mood and outlook.
A common side effect of dehydration is a headache. Generally, headaches can cause you to feel nauseous and irritated by light or loud noises. Drinking more water can help to increase your mood and minimize irritability and frustrations.
10. Increases Your Energy Levels
In addition to improving your mood, drinking water can also help increase your energy levels.
Dehydration can leave you feeling fatigued. As a result of feeling tired, your motivation, drive, and levels of energy can be significantly impacted.
Being tired can also have an impact on your mood and outlook on life. When tired, you are less willing to take part in activities that trigger the release of endorphins which make you happy.
Such activities include exercising, meeting up with friends for a good laugh, or giving back to your community by volunteering. All of which will not be at the top of your to-do list when feeling tired and dehydrated.
While a good sleep routine is important for any healthy lifestyle, try drinking some extra water throughout the day if you feel more tired than usual.
This is especially important if you notice your energy levels drop off mid-afternoon. It will help you feel more alert and productive as you finish your workday and enable you to make the most of your evenings.
11. Quenches Your Thirst
One of the benefits of drinking water that you can immediately recognize is how it helps to quench your thirst. The sensation of thirst is one of the main indicators that your brain gives your body when it requires more fluids.
A sensation of thirst can be caused by feeling dehydrated, eating foods that are high in salt, or when your mouth is dry. You must listen to your body when it is thirsty and act accordingly by drinking more water.
12. Helps Your Body Fight Acne
While drinking water will not cure your acne, it will definitely help your body fight it. Maintaining adequate levels of hydration while fighting acne will help minimize tight, itchy and dull-looking skin.
Skin can become tight and itchy from acne medications that are designed to remove excess oil to prevent clogged pores.
Furthermore, by reducing the number of times you itch your skin, you are minimizing the times you touch your face to itch it. This also helps to prevent clogged pores from the dirt that can transfer from your hands to your face.
Drinking water can also help you fight acne by increasing cell turnover (removing dead skin cells clogging pores) and reduce inflammation.
13. Regulates Your Body Temperature
Another benefit of drinking water is to help regulate the temperature of your body in the form of sweat.
When your body heats up, it starts to produce sweat, which spreads across the surface of your skin. The sweat begins to absorb the heat that your body is producing, which causes it to gain kinetic energy and convert to gas. Kinetic energy can be explained as the energy of something in motion.
In this instance, heat causes your sweat to convert to a gas which you may more commonly know as evaporation. As the sweat evaporates, it removes the heat from your body and thus cools it down.
It is very clever how your body can regulate its temperature, however, a lot of water is lost in the process. It is important to drink enough water so your body can efficiently cool its self down.
Furthermore, it is crucial to replenish lost fluids after you have been sweating a lot from exercise, sickness, or heat exposure. This will minimize the chance of you becoming dehydrated.
14. Helps Your Digestion
Drinking water can help digest large pieces of food by breaking it down so that your body can absorb the nutrients.
While there are several other factors important to your body’s digestion procedure such as saliva and stomach acid, water can also help this process.
15. Removes Toxins From Your Body
In addition to helping with the body’s digestion process, water also plays a big role in helping to remove toxins.
Adequate hydration helps soften the stool which can prevent bloating and constipation. Furthermore, drinking enough water is vital to help your kidneys filter blood and remove waste in the form of urine.
16. Transports Nutrients Throughout Your Body
Water helps transport nutrients throughout your body in the form of blood. Blood consists of roughly 40% of cellular components, and 60% Plasma.
Plasma can further be broken down into about 90% water and the remaining 10% is a mixture of salts, and proteins.
Amongst other purposes, Plasma acts as a carrier for nutrients, hormones, and enzymes and transports them throughout your body. This is made possible by the large percentage of water in Plasma, and as a result, in your blood.
When you are dehydrated, your blood no longer contains as much water, and it becomes thicker or more concentrated. When your blood is more concentrated, amongst other effects, it isn’t as efficient at circulating or transporting nutrients throughout your body.
17. Helps Decrease Your Blood Pressure
Dehydration has more of an effect on your blood than just reducing the efficiency of transporting nutrients throughout your body.
As previously mentioned, when you are dehydrated, your blood lacks water and becomes thicker or more concentrated. As a result, your blood pressure can increase as there is more force exerted against the walls of your blood vessels. Those with high blood pressure are at risk of heart complications.
Drinking water can help reduce the viscosity of your blood, allowing it to flow throughout your body more easily.
18. Helps Prevent Dehydration While Sleeping
Dehydration and sleep are strongly related. The reason you wake up feeling groggy most mornings could be because you wake up dehydrated.
When you drink water at regular intervals throughout the day, you are also helping to maintain your body’s hydration levels while you sleep.
Your body naturally loses fluids when you sleep from breathing. However, other factors could increase how much fluid you lose while sleeping such as sickness, or the environment you sleep in (too hot, or air with low humidity).
Drinking water throughout the hours you are awake can help maintain your hydration levels when you are asleep and not receiving water.
19. Reduces The Severity Of Your Hangover
Alcohol is a diuretic, and as a result, it makes your body think it needs to release more liquid than required. This is why you typically make more frequent trips to the bathroom after you have had a few drinks.
It is necessary to replenish lost fluids from all those bathroom trips with healthy fluids like water. Otherwise, you will be feeling groggy when you wake up the next morning.
Furthermore, it is important to drink alcohol in moderation. To minimize dehydration, which is one of the primary causes of your hangover symptoms, alternate one alcoholic beverage with one glass of water.
20. Helps Your Body Fight Illness
When you are sick your body is releasing more fluids than usual. Examples could be in the form of vomiting, sweat, diarrhea or mucus.
It is important to replenish these naturally lost fluids when you are sick to prevent dehydration. Drinking water while you are sick also helps your body fight sickness, dispose of toxins, and ease flu-like symptoms.
How Much Water Should You Be Drinking?
Now you know the benefits of drinking water, how much water should you be drinking each day to stay hydrated?
While you may be looking for a specific number, such as to drink x glasses of water each day, it is hard to quantify what the right amount is for each individual.
In the past, it seemed as though everyone knew, and followed, the 8 by 8 rule. It was that you should drink 8, eight-ounce glasses of water a day.
However, the amount of water your body requires is unique to each individual and depends on several different factors. Some of these factors are discussed in more detail below.
Your Body Size
The size of your body plays an important role in determining how much water you should be drinking each day.
For instance, to maintain adequate hydration, a full-grown adult would require more water than a child. The larger your body is, the more ground there is to cover to transport nutrients and keep cells hydrated.
The Amount Of Exercise You Do
When your heart rate increases during exercise, your body temperature heats up. As previously discussed in this article, your body produces sweat as a way of cooling itself down.
Sweat is one of the main ways your body naturally loses fluids. Those who exercise more frequently should be drinking more water to replenish lost fluids from sweat.
The Types Of Food You Eat
Your diet can also significantly impact the amount of water you should be drinking each day. Those who eat foods with high water content may not be required to drink as much water.
For instance, a lot of common fruits and vegetables contain large percentages of water. Many are in the range of 80% to 90% water.
How You Spend Your Time Throughout The Day
What you do as a profession and how you spend your free time can also have a big impact on how much water you should be consuming.
If your job requires you to sit behind a desk all day, you probably won’t require as much water. Alternatively, if you are someone who is physically active and on their feet for most of the day, you might require more water.
Additionally, those who spend a lot of time outdoors and are exposed to warmer climates will sweat more. As a result, you will need to drink more water to replenish lost fluids.
General Tips For How Much Water You Should Drink
As you can see from above, your lifestyle plays a big impact on determining how much water you should be drinking each day. For that reason, and without knowing how you fill your time, it is difficult for someone to provide an amount that you should be drinking each day.
However, it is important to listen to your body and your healthcare professional to determine the right amount of water you should be drinking each day.
With that being said, there are some good hydration techniques that you should be following to help you stay hydrated. They include drinking water:
- at regular intervals throughout the day
- when you are thirsty
- before, during, and after you exercise
- when you are exposed to warmer climates
How To Drink More Water And Stay Hydrated?
While you now realize the benefits of drinking water and staying hydrated, it might not always be at the top of your to-do list. Despite your busy schedule, it is important to remember to stay hydrated throughout your daily routine.
Below are some tips to help remind you drink more water and stay hydrated.
Use A Reusable Water Bottle
It is a lot easier to track your water intake, and set hydration goals when you are using the same water bottle each day. We recommend any of our top five picks from the article we wrote Best Water Bottles For Daily Use.
Our top pick was a stainless steel water bottle from Hydro Flask. It can keep drinks cold for up to 24 hours, and it has a convenient carry loop on the lid so you can transport it easily. You can find it here on Amazon.
Eat Foods With High Water Content
You don’t have to rely only on drinking water in order to stay hydrated. A lot of the fluids you receive are from the foods you eat.
By adding some foods that are rich in water to your diet, you can minimize the amount of water you need to drink. For starters, fruits (examples: rhubarb, watermelon, strawberries, grapefruit, cantaloupe) and vegetables (examples: lettuce, celery, pak choi, radishes, cucumbers) both contain large percentages of water.
Additionally, soups, broths, stews, and chili are all meals that are rich in water.
Drink Healthy Alternatives When Bored Of Water
While water is the most common drink for staying hydrated, it can also be quite plain and tasteless. When you are bored of drinking water, switch it up with a healthy alternative.
Other options could be fruit infused water, sparkling water, or even fruit juice. In a recent article, we provided some other healthy suggestions of drinks besides water to help you stay hydrated.
Set Alarms To Remind You To Drink More Water
For many people, other than during and after exercise, they forget to drink water as they are too busy focused on other tasks. With busy schedules and your attention pulled in every direction, why not set an alarm to remind you to drink water?
You can set reminders on your smartphone, smartwatch, a sticky note, or even consider getting a water bottle with reminder alarm that alerts you with audio and visual prompts to drink more water.
Other helpful options are water bottles with time markings. The water bottles have time markers on them every two hours from 7AM until 9PM to keep you on track throughout the day.
Use Oral Hydration Solutions (ORS) After Exercise
You might not realize how much water you lose during exercise from sweating. While it is important to drink water at the end of your workout or training session, there are alternatives that can hydrate you faster.
Oral hydration solutions (ORS), also known as hydration drinks, can provide you quick hydration relief after intense exercise. We recently wrote an article about the best hydration drinks, and recommend you try any of them.
Our favorite is Liquid I.V.’s hydration multiplier which is designed to hydrate you more efficiently and effectively than water alone. You simply add one packet to 16 oz of water and it provides you the same hydration as if you were to drink 2 to 3 bottles of water. It is available in three tasty flavors that you can purchase here on Amazon.
Create Daily Hydration Goals
Like anything in life you want to achieve, setting a goal allows you to measure your progress as you work towards accomplishing it. So, why not set a daily hydration goal?
Set a goal of how much water you want to drink each day. That way, you aren’t just aimlessly drinking water when you remember. Instead, you are drinking to stay hydrated.
It will initially take some time as you determine the right amount of water you should be drinking each day. However, keep trying different amounts until you begin to notice the benefits of drinking water and staying hydrated.
Don’t forget to increase your daily goal when you are outside in the sun for extended periods, and when you are exercising.
If you are interested in tracking your water intake in more detail than setting hydration goals, consider getting a water bottle that tracks how much you drink. As you will read in the article, most water bottles sync via Bluetooth to a smartphone app with helpful graphs and charts to better understand your hydration data.
In a recent article, we provide 16 tips you can do daily to drink more water. We have covered most of the important ones in this article, however, consider giving it a read to see if there are any more tips you can include in your daily routine.
Throughout this article, we provide 20 benefits of drinking water and staying hydrated. We also reviewed how much water you should be drinking each day, and gave tips on how you can drink more water to stay hydrated.
Were there any benefits of drinking water reviewed in this article that you didn’t know about?
For any comments, questions or feedback you might have, please send us a message through our contact form.
Facts for this article are referenced from credible sources. For further information, please read the referenced articles from the following organizations:
- U.S. National Library Of Medicine – Mild Dehydration Impairs Cognitive Performance And Mood Of Men
- SpineUniverse – Intervertebral Discs
- Queensland University of Technology: Master of Applied Science Research by Andrew James Pyke – Heat Strain Evaluation of Overt and Covert Body Armour
- U.S. Department Of Health And Human Services – Your Kidneys & How They Work
- Community Blood Center – Blood Components
- Medical News Today – Everything You Need To Know About Hypertension
Be sure to consult your health care professional with any medical questions. Similarly, the information found in this article should not be considered medical advice.