From the stuff we drink and swim in, to the steam that eases congestion and the ice that reduces swelling, water is all around us. To learn exactly how water is helping us, as well as some creative ways to use it, check out these reasons why you should go hydrate right now.
1. It could aid weight loss.
Anyone looking to lose weight could be helped by upping their water intake. Studies have found that when participants drink water before a meal, they lose weight faster than those who did not drink water. Extra H2O helps us eat less by making us feel full, and it may also boost metabolism.
2. It keeps things moving, digestion-wise.
Water helps us, you know, go by helping dissolve fats and soluble fiber. Drinking enough water prevents constipation and also reduces the burden on the kidneys and liver by helping to flushwaste products. In the large intestine, water binds with fiber to increase the bulk of the stools, reduce transit time and make elimination easier. When you don't drink enough water and fluids, the colon pulls water from stools, increasing your risk of constipation.
3. It can improve mood.
Drinking water makes us feel so refreshed that it actually improves our state of mind. You don’t even have to be severely in need of it to benefit: Even mild dehydration has been shown to negatively impact moods.
4. It energizes us.
Next time you’re feeling zonked, try drinking a couple glasses of water. Feeling tired is one of the first signs of dehydration and filling back up on H2O could zap the sleepiness away.
5. It protects our joints and cartilage.
Water keeps the cartilage around our joints hydrated and supple, ensuring that our joints stay lubricated. It also protects our spinal cord and tissues, keeping us healthy from the inside out. The rubbery material that coats our bones—is about 85 percent water. To keep this protective material healthy, we need to keep hydrated.
6. It helps us think more clearly.
Dehydration causes shrinkage of brain tissue. So when we haven’t been drinking enough water, our brains have to work a lot harder to perform at the same level . One study even found that students who brought water to tests did better on their exams.
7. Working out in it (yes, in it) is good for aerobic fitness.
Deep water running and water aerobics offer cardio workouts without the impact. For cross training that’s no-impact and low-stress, hit the pool. Then there’s aqua spinning, which has been growing in popularity for a reason: It provides a workout as effective as cycling on land, and might even offer increased cardiovascular benefits.
8. It balances our fluids.
About 60 percent of the human body is made of water, and keeping our fluids balanced means that all that water is doing its job—transporting nutrients, aiding digestion, regulating temperature, and so on.
9. It may help relieve congestion.
Stuffy nose got you down? Inhaling steam from a humidifier or pot of boiling water can help clear up congestion. Salt water can also break up all the gunk that makes us stuffy: Stream it from one nostril to the other with a net pot or try a saline nose spray to loosen things up.
34. Soaking up steam heat is good for the heart.
Relaxing in a sauna could be as healthy as it is calming. In one small study, participants who sat in a sauna for 15 minutes every day for three weeks showed improved heart function and blood pumping capabilities, and were able to exercise more. Researchers concluded that sauna therapy could be an effective complement or alternative treatment for some people with chronic heart failure.