Why Drink Water?
Drinking plenty of water every day is good for us…right?
It must be – everybody says so – but do you really know why? Or how many benefits drinking water has for body and mind too? Chances are you’d be reaching for the tap a lot more often than you are now…
Want to know more? Watch the short video to see 10 reasons why water has so much to offer, read on for more detail on ‘hitting the bottle’. You might be surprised…
Did you know that about two thirds of a healthy human body is made up of water?
We need water for almost every function in our body – to name a few;
- Helps cells operate properly carrying food around our bodies
- Lubricates joints and muscles
- Improves blood flow and circulation
- Flushes out toxins
- Aids digestion and helps get rid of waste
On average we lose about 2.5 litres of liquid every day through weeing, sweating and even breathing. We need to take in a lot of fluid to make up for all the lost liquid for our bodies to work properly. If we lose more fluids than we consume, we’re likely to suffer from dehydration which causes all manner of problems. One of the first signs of dehydration is feeling thirsty – so up your fluid intake BEFORE getting to this stage.
If you haven’t already rushed off for a drink (or a wee) after that, here’s more explanation of the top ten benefits of drinking water, including the sciencey bits!
1. Drinking water can help you monitor your weight
Be careful not to read this as ‘drinking water makes you lose weight’ – it doesn’t. But there are reasons why water helps with weight loss. Firstly, it can help you cut down on your food intake because drinking water means you’re less hungry and less prone to snacking and overeating. Avoid confusing hunger with thirst – you’ll drink more and eat less, a no-brainer for weight watchers.
When a body’s well hydrated, it breaks down the fat cells easier which speeds up weight loss. Heads up, here comes the science bit. Water boosts your metabolism. Your kidneys filter toxins but they can’t do this properly if you body’s not well hydrated. If you’re drinking enough water, your kidneys and liver do their jobs properly – filtering toxins and metabolising fat, helping weight loss. (Water has no calories or sugars and helps you exercise better.)
2. Water is great for your skin
Drinking water helps flush out all the toxins and impurities from your skin, so dirt and bacteria can’t linger. This helps make skin clearer. When our skin cells are hydrated the skin becomes moisturised and plumped up, which helps with making lines and wrinkles appear less obvious.
It’s important to recognise that even though water has great proven benefits for the skin, it doesn’t have a magic wand to turn back the clock – ageing happens to the best of us I’m afraid and drinking your body weight in water won’t stop that! But drinking plenty of water can go a long way in helping you look after your skin as the information above shows. Apply sunscreen in hot weather too, there’s no point making the effort to hydrate your skin through drinking plenty only to bake in the sun!
3. Drinking water can help you get rid of headaches
And dizziness too. Symptoms can be due to a lack of hydration in the first place, drinking water rehydrates and eases pain. Stress headaches can be associated with dehydration and although water’s not an all-powerful cure, it’s definitely a good place to start.
4. Water helps your body combat bugs and infections
A good fluid intake helps flush away toxins and keeps your bloodstream healthy. Water helps all your organs do their jobs properly. This puts the body in the best place to fight off infection.
Many factors increase the chance of developing kidney stones, but if you don’t drink enough fluids, the risk is raised. Water breaks down substances like calcium and uric acid that can build up and create kidney stones.
5. Drinking water helps improve concentration levels
Not just concentration either – keeping your brain hydrated can also help sharpen memory and help you think more clearly. Drinking water can help decrease stress, depression and anxiety. The brain works at its best when it has the right water levels and it can’t store water, so it’s especially important to replace lost fluids. If dehydration occurs, your brain works slower across all it’s functions.
Ever have that tired, fuzzy brain feeling when you’re working? By upping water intake and staying well hydrated, you’ll be able to focus better and think more clearly. Even your boss will thank you for drinking up – see more on ‘water, work and wellbeing’ later on in this article.
6. Water boosts your energy levels
Water helps carry oxygen and other nutrients through your bloodstream to your cells. Increased oxygen levels in your blood help your body burn fat for energy. When a body’s not well hydrated, this process slows down and won’t work at its best. (Are you starting to see a pattern here?)
7. Drinking water helps you to exercise better and build muscle tone
When exercising, you lose fluids quicker through sweating – drinking water rehydrates you and keeps joints and muscles lubricated, helping prevent cramping. Muscles need water for flexibility and strength. Water also helps transport oxygen and glucose around the body – giving you the essential energy boost needed for a good workout.
8. Water helps you stay regular
Drinking water helps flush out excess waste, encourages the bowels to move and softens stools, preventing constipation. Without enough water, bowel motions are dry, harder and much more difficult to pass. (Ouch.)
9. Water regulates your body temperature
The hypothalamus (in the brain) controls a body’s core temperature. Temperature receptors in our body tell the hypothalamus if our core temperature needs adjusting. Brain tissue is 85% water and needs more fluid to help it work properly than other organs. The brain can’t communicate properly with temperature receptors if we’re dehydrated so can’t help us to cool down.
10. Drinking water supports your heart
Drinking water has been linked to the prevention of heart attacks. Research shows that people who drank five or more glasses of water a day were less likely to suffer a fatal heart attack than those who drank less than two glasses a day. Dehydration thickens the blood, making the heart work much harder.
We get around 20% of the water we need from food, the rest must come from drinks. The Department of Health recommends that we should drink 1.2 litres of water every day but there’s no ‘one size fits all’ amount that suits everyone. A number of factors affect the amount you need to drink, including your sex, weight and how much you exercise.
You’ll need to drink more if;
- It’s hot weather (and you’re exposed to the heat)
- You’re unwell
- You’re pregnant or breastfeeding
- You’re drinking a lot of fizzy drinks, tea or coffee
- You’re exercising or using a lot of energy
Can I drink anything else?
Yes – but drinks like tea and coffee are diuretics (they make you wee even more, so you’ll be losing more liquid which will need replacing.) Water is the best choice for replacing lost fluids – it’s sugar free and hydrates you more than any other drink. You could add a slice of lemon or lime or 100% fruit juice to plain water. This might improve the taste without diluting the beneficial effects (see what I did there?)
Water, Work and Wellbeing
How can drinking water help you at work?
Here are some examples – it’s likely you’ll be able to work better if you;
- Have good energy levels
- Can think clearly and concentrate on tasks
- Don’t have dehydration symptoms like headaches, dizziness or tiredness
- Are in good overall health (and don’t have nagging complaints which make you feel unwell)
Drinking water can help with all of this.
There is an undeniable link between wellbeing and overall health. Wellbeing programmes can use health education and health promotion as a means of encouraging employees to take control of their health. Educating workers on the health benefits of drinking water and promoting this in the workplace could help workers improve their health.
Could you bring this simple health promotion topic into your workplace? For example, workers could benefit from having a communal water cooler installed. Many companies offer this service and according to them the benefits range from ‘encouraging workers to interact’ to ‘enhancing individual health and wellbeing’ and even ‘improving overall workforce productivity’
Judge for yourself, but knowing what you know now, encouraging others to drink plenty of water can only be a good thing.
Back to the Question of ‘Why Drink Water..?’
There are other steps you should take to stay healthy – exercising regularly, having a balanced diet and getting the recommended 5 a day – but drinking water is an easy and effective step towards better health. It won’t cure every health complaint or keep people young and beautiful forever, but do you know of anything else – with as many health benefits – that is so simple to take up?
So really, the question isn’t really ‘why drink water?’ but ‘why wouldn’t you?’
Can you think of a reason?
Thought not, neither can I – think it’s time to head for the tap…
For further information on workplace wellbeing programmes see;