You know that drinking water is an essential part of staying healthy, but if you're like most people, it's hard to get a gallon in a day. It's common to see the most popular fitness influencers and personal trainers preach about the health-boosting benefits of water, but what are they really outside of hydration? What can you expect from drinking this much water on a regular basis? Luckily, there are many evidence-based positives that being hydrated can offer.
1. It's Extremely Accessible
Drinking enough water is one of the most affordable and easy ways to contribute to your health. No additional purchase is required since you'll only need the kitchen faucet (unless you prefer filtered water). You can simply fill a half gallon or gallon bottle in the morning and drink from it throughout the day. Even at the gym or studio, water should be accessible. While it might seem just as good to choose flavored water, be cautious about the addition of sugar. For example, Vitaminwater isn't just water! It's best to stick with regular water to reap the full spectrum of benefits.
2. Keeps You at Peak Performance
Without enough water, your physical performance isn't optimal. As you sweat, you'll lose water weight. If you're already dehydrated, this can cause you to feel easily fatigued and even become dizzy or nauseous. Muscle is made up of about 80% water, so when you haven't had much water to drink, it makes it very difficult for them to work like you want them to. To perform at your best while lifting weights, performing cardio, biking, or doing yoga, ensure you've had enough water before getting started.
3. Helps Offset Headaches
Do you struggle with headaches during the day? This could be a sign of dehydration. While everyone is different, dehydration has been shown to trigger headaches and migraines in some people (LINK). These can totally re-route your plans for the day, and in some cases leave you stuck at home due to the pain. Keeping yourself hydrated may help offset the frequency in which you have headaches, which is a major win.
4. Contributes to Brain Function and Energy
Dehydration takes a serious toll on the brain, affecting your mood and ability to concentrate. In a study published in The Journal of Nutrition, researchers found that young women in their early to late twenties were impaired in mood and concentration after exercise with a fluid loss of 1.4% (LINK). This fluid loss doesn't seem like much, but when it comes to the brain, even a tiny percentage like this can have a huge impact. You need to be on point at work, while exercising, and in every other aspect of your life. Drinking plentiful amounts of water will help keep your energy levels up, your mood elevated, and your concentration sharp. Don't let something like water intake hold you back from performing at your best!
5. May Facilitate Weight Loss
Water acts as a great tool for weight loss, helping to boost your metabolism and increase that "full" feeling. If you're guilty of midday or nighttime snacking (who isn't?), try upping your water intake. Before meals, it's been shown that drinking water will help you feel fuller, so you naturally eat less calories. When paired with a healthy diet and exercise, your weight loss goals will feel much more attainable when you increase your daily water consumption.
Water offers incredible benefits that keep our minds and bodies going strong. According to the Harvard School of Public Health, the average woman should consume about 11 cups of water per day for optimal hydration (LINK). This may seem like a big number to hit, which is why we recommend setting smaller goals first. If you normally drink very little water, try to hit 2 to 3 cups a day. Once that has become more like a habit, increase to 4 or 5. This will feel much more manageable so that you can incrementally reach 11 cups a day. Once you reach 11, you can continue pushing to 16, which is one gallon! While plain water is great, you can also add a sugar-free BCAA supplement for additional performance benefits for your workouts. Many also enjoy adding fruits to their water, which is perfectly fine! Water offers a simple way to seriously optimize your daily life.