Ironically, it wasn’t till I moved from my tropical climate to the rainy and cold Netherlands that I actually started walking around with a water bottle. I just know that I should drink a lot, but I only ever drank when I was thirsty since it just wasn’t appealing to need a restroom every hour. But then I realized something – I’ve always heard the benefits of drinking a lot of water, but never actually the specifics on what happens when your body goes without enough water. And there lies the inspiration for this blog post. Let’s get started with the important question:
How much water is enough water?
The health people in charge have kind of pushed this idea that everyone should drink ‘8 glasses of water a day’ which totals to about 2 liters. It’s called the 8×8 rule, but it never really made sense to me. If we’re all about 60-70% water, how could I need to drink the same amount as my 200 pound brother for example? I’d kind of imagine that the more body mass you have, the more water you would need. And the more active you are (the more you sweat), the more water you’d need to put back into your body.
I was apparently, on to something. Some voices out there recommend drinking a half ounce of water for every pound you weigh. So if you weigh 150 pounds/68 kgs, that’s about 75 ounces/2.2 liters. Butttt, I think you know your body best. There are various indicators that you can pay attention to in order to determine how much water you need. Look at your size and weight, and also your regular activity level and what sort of temperature you experience regularly. Hotter climates and higher activity levels need more water than cooler and lower ones for instance. If all else fails, look at your urine! The clearer, the better. The color and smell of your urine is always a good indicator of how much water you are taking into your body. Clear? Alright good.
So if I don’t drink enough, what exactly happens to my body?
Thinking becomes that much harder: without enough water, your brain can go from Einstein to potato status real quick. If you’re even mildly dehydrated, your brain function will decline. It’s harder to concentrate, and you’ll probably develop a headache trying to do all that thinking. On top of that, it negatively effects your mood. Water and the brain are intricately linked.
You’re in for some constipation: when you don’t drink enough water, you increase your risk of constipation. It makes sense, since, you know, water helps move things along.. No water/little water = not enough bowel movement.
You miss out on possible weight loss: water makes you feel full, and causes a spike in your metabolic rate. So, the more water you’re drinking, the more calories you burn by doing absolutely nothing. In 2010, a study was published showing that over a 12 week period, participants who drank water before a meal loss 44% more weight than participants who didn’t. So, the science backs this one up.
You suffer from un-ending fatigue: fatigue is your first sign of dehydration. So when your body is not getting enough water, exercising feels like it requires a huge amount of effort since your physical performance is not where it’s supposed to be at. You need to drink enough water to optimize your performance.
Your hangovers are 10x worse: alcohol is a diuretic, which means it leads to water loss, and then of course, dehydration. It’s this dehydration that causes your pounding headache and dry mouth. So, if you’re not drinking water between your drinks and when you get home.. get ready for one hell of a hangover.
You age and wrinkle faster: water is really, the only anti-aging treatment that you need. Without enough water, your skin won’t be glowing, smooth, or youthful. Sucks.
As you can see, it makes much more sense to keep your body hydrated, than force your body to go without enough water. I know for me, the fatigue hits me hard when I haven’t drank enough a day. If you’re wondering how to get yourself to drink more water everyday, check out our tips and tricks right here. What symptoms do you experience when you don’t drink enough water?
Sources: Mind Body Green, Authority Nutrition, Greatist
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