The Importance of Drinking Water

One of my first challenges on my fitness journey was to get into the habit of drinking more water. I was not someone who drank water regularly. For me to drink water, I had to be extremely thirsty and there was nothing else available to drink. Drinking water doesn’t directly affect weight loss, but it definitely can help with a person’s weight-loss efforts. Drinking water during the day, along with proper eating, can help you feel full without consuming high-calorie, sugar-filled drinks and reduce your food intake that will make you gain more weight. Drinking water carries many other benefits as well:

  • Drinking plenty of water may help relieve common headaches due to dehydration.

  • Staying properly hydrated will help keep your muscles and joints lubricated to reduce your chance of getting a cramp or even sprain especially if you are running.

  • Drinking water helps relieve fatigue caused when your heart has to work harder to pump oxygenated blood to your cells

  • Drinking water improves the look and vitality of your skin.

  • Drinking water helps flush out the toxins and waste products from your body.

  • You need to drink water so your liver can effectively metabolize body fat.

Even though drinking water has plenty of benefits, drinking the proper amounts each day is what was a problem for me. The typical rule of thumb has been to drink eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day (about 1.9 liters). The International Sports Sciences Association (ISSA) recommends drinking 8-12 glasses of water per day. The Institute of Medicine determined that an adequate intake is roughly about 13 cups (3 liters) a day for men and about 9 cups (2.2 liters) a day for women.

Additionally, regularly drinking water is useful for individuals engaged in vigorous exercise activities. As your body loses water via sweat, you'll need to replace that fluid with new water to stay healthy. Staying hydrated helps prevent the decline in strength, power, and both aerobic and anaerobic capacity during regular exercise or during a race. Essentially, without an adequate supply of water, your performance will decrease, your body will lack energy and your muscles may cramp among other things.

Bottom-line is that water is an essential nutrient that is involved in every function of the body. Drinking enough water and staying properly hydrated is part of a healthy weight-loss system and maintaining a healthy weight in general. Furthermore, proper hydration improves performance, reduces fatigue, and reduces recovery time. For runners and multisport athletes, if you're not properly hydrated, your body can't perform at its best.