June 22, 2023

Proper hydration is an essential component of health and wellness and its importance is often overlooked. It is vital for our bodies to function properly, including recovery and injury prevention. In this article, we discuss the benefits of hydration, how much water you should drink, and some tips for staying hydrated.

Benefits of Hydration

Water is essential for many bodily functions, including regulating body temperature, transporting nutrients throughout the body, removing the body’s waste products, and even lubricating our joints. Proper hydration also improves physical performance, cognitive function, and regulates our mood.

Hydration also has an effect on your pain threshold, or the amount of pain tolerated before feeling discomfort. Studies have shown that dehydration can lower your pain threshold, making you more sensitive to the same amount of pain or less. How this happens is through a build-up of inflammation or an increased release of the stress hormone cortisol. This alteration of your pain threshold is especially important for people experiencing chronic pain to keep in mind. In a nutshell, staying well hydrated can help increase your pain threshold, making you more resilient to pain and discomfort!

Still not convinced? Here are some other benefits of drinking water:

  • Helps in digestion: Drinking water helps to dissolve fats and soluble fiber, allowing them to pass through the digestive system more easily. It also helps to prevent constipation.
  • Boosts metabolism: Drinking water can help to increase metabolism, which is important for weight management and overall health.
  • Improves skin health: Drinking water can help to keep the skin hydrated, which may reduce the appearance of wrinkles and improve overall skin health.
  • Promotes healthy immune system: Drinking water can help to flush out toxins from the body, which may help to boost the immune system.

How Much Water Should You Drink?

The general recommendation for daily water intake is to drink at least 8 cups (64 ounces or about 2 liters) of water per day. However, this doesn’t consider your individual needs, which may vary based on factors such as the amount of exercise/activity in a day, the current climate, and any medical conditions.

One way to be more specific with your daily water needs is to use your body weight as a guide. As a rule of thumb, you can drink half your body weight (in pounds) in ounces of water per day. For example, if you weigh 150 pounds, you can aim to drink at least 75 ounces of water per day. Increase your water intake on days when you sweat more, either due to exercise/exertion or hot weather.

Tips for Staying Hydrated

Here are some tips to help you stay hydrated throughout the day:

  • Keep water with you at all times: Carry a water bottle with you wherever you go and choose a water bottle that is transparent so you can observe the amount you have already drank. It’s best to sip on it throughout the day rather than larger amounts at one time.
  • Drink before you feel thirsty: Thirst is generally a sign that you are already dehydrated, so it is important to drink water regularly throughout the day.
  • Eat water-rich foods: Fruits and vegetables such as watermelon, cucumbers, and strawberries are high in water content and can help you stay hydrated, in addition to your water intake.
  • Limit caffeinated and alcoholic beverages: Caffeine and alcohol both dehydrate you, so it is best to limit your consumption of these drinks.

In conclusion, hydration, particularly drinking water, is essential for our bodies to function at their best, help us recover, and even prevent injury. We encourage our patients to prioritize hydration by drinking water regularly throughout the day, especially during exercise. By following these tips and listening to your body’s thirst cues, you can maintain proper hydration and promote overall health and wellness.