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4 Health Benefits of Drinking Water

Drinking enough water every day is super important for your health. It is commonly recommended that you drink eight 8-ounce (237-mL) glasses of water per day (the 8×8 rule).

Although there’s little science behind this rule, staying hydrated is important. Dehydration can look like anything from headaches, unclear thinking, fatigue, muscle cramps, mood changes, and slow reaction time. It can also cause your body to overheat, and lead to constipation and kidney stones.

It is most important to drink plenty of water when:

  • You have a fever

  • When the weather is hot

  • If you have diarrhea or vomiting

  • When you sweat a lot or are doing vigorous activity

Here are 4 important health benefits of drinking plenty of water.

1. Water Helps Energize your Muscles and Boost Performance During Exercise

Drinking enough fluids is very important when exercising! When muscle cells don’t have adequate fluids, they don’t work as well and performance can suffer. Cells that don’t maintain their balance of fluids and electrolytes can shrivel, which can result in muscle fatigue.

The American College of Sports Medicine has guidelines for fluid intake before and during physical activity. These guidelines recommend that people drink about 17 ounces of fluid about two hours before exercise. During exercise, they recommend that people start drinking fluids early, and drink them at regular intervals or breaks to replace fluids lost by sweating. This is especially important during cardio and high-intensity workouts.

It is also very important to drink enough water when taking workout supplements such as pre-workout or creatine. Be sure to talk to a personal trainer or practitioner before using workout supplements.

2. Water Can Help Control Calories

"What works with weight loss is if you choose water or a non-caloric beverage over a caloric beverage and/or eat a diet higher in water-rich foods that are healthier more filling, and help you trim calorie intake," says Penn State researcher Barbara Rolls, Ph.D., author of The Volumetrics Weight-Control Plan.

Water may also help with weight loss if it is consumed instead of sweetened juices and sodas. It does not have a magic effect on weight loss, but it is much better to drink water than a substitute for higher-calorie beverages.

Foods with high water content such as fruits, vegetables, broth-based soups, and beans are great options because they are absorbed more slowly by the body, helping you feel full longer. Drinking a glass of water before meals can also help prevent overeating by creating a sense of fullness.

3. Drinking Water Helps Maintain the Balance of Body Fluids

The human body comprises around 60% water. The functions of these bodily fluids include digestion, absorption, circulation, creation of saliva, transportation of nutrients, and maintenance of body temperature. When the body is low on fluids, the brain triggers the body's thirst mechanism.

Cartilage, found in joints and the disks of the spine, contains around 80% water. Long-term dehydration can reduce the joints' shock-absorbing ability, which can lead to joint pain. Water helps lubricate and cushion the joints so it is especially important for people who have arthritis.

4. Water Helps Keep Your Skin Looking Great

With dehydration, the skin can become more vulnerable to skin disorders and premature wrinkling.

Water keeps your body hydrated and refreshed and helps maintain your skin's elasticity. People who drink large amounts of water are less likely to suffer from scars, wrinkles, and soft lines and they won't show as many signs of aging as those who drink little amounts of water.

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Study source cited by Medical News Today and Healthline.

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