Our bodies need water to function properly. In fact, we should drink half of our body weight in ounces every day and add 20-40 ounces if we work out during the day. Starting the day with 12 to 16 ounces of water is a great way to set your body and brain up for success. When we sleep, our bodies are working hard repairing damaged cells and forming new cells. This leads to a lot of cellular waste that needs to get flushed out of our bodies and drinking water as soon as we get up in the morning is a great way to jump start that process. Additionally, drinking water before we eat anything ensures that the water is quickly absorbed into our system and works to clear out our colons, hydrate our skin and energize our muscles and brain because, remember, our cells need oxygen and water is the thing that carries oxygen to our cells.
Our bodies are 60% water. This water helps with the transmission of hormones and neurotransmitters throughout our body. Without these circulating around, there would be little communication between the cells, tissues and organs. In the brain, water helps to keep the hypothalamus running smoothly. The hypothalamus is basically the balancer in our brains – it regulates things like hunger, body temperature, thirst, emotions, and sleep (among others). Clearly, if this is dysregulated in any way, things can get out of whack quickly.
One of the first things we may notice when the water in our body gets low is that our brains start to get a little foggy. We might get a headache, start to feel anxious, lose concentration, feel more mentally fatigued and even notice a decrease in working memory. Also, be aware that we may notice the impact of dehydration even though we may not even feel thirsty. Honestly, we often identify thirst as hunger–we think we are hungry when we are actually thirsty!
For those of us who work out, we know the impact dehydration (even a little) has on our physical performance. We get winded more easily, have a hard time staying motivated and eventually will have difficulty with temperature regulation. These are all our body’s way of signaling to us that something is not quite right so pay attention!
And drink up! Drink water first thing in the morning, throughout the day, with meals, during a workout, and definitely while drinking alcohol! It’s an easy thing to do and the positive implications are enormous.
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