The Importance of Staying Hydrated

Osmosis Team
Published on Jun 23, 2020. Updated on Sep 15, 2020.

In honor of Hydration Day, Osmosis Health Coach Ishan Dahal invites you to learn more about the benefits of drinking water and the consequences of dehydration with some peer-reviewed research. Having trouble scheduling essential water breaks into your day? Check out his tips for drinking more water at the end of the article!

Water is an essential nutrient (shocking, I know), and makes up more than 50% of our bodies. This liquid substance plays an important role in several biological processes essential for survival; if we don’t drink water, it doesn’t take long for the effects of dehydration to manifest. The benefits of hydration are too many to name and so are the disadvantages of dehydration. In honor of Hydration Day, let’s look at three benefits of staying hydrated, and three complications that can result from dehydration. 

The benefits of staying hydrated

Drinking water is essential for sustaining life, and drinking it positively impacts our bodies in numerous other ways. Let’s dive in with the top three benefits of H20!

Drinking water can reduce your calorie intake

Studies show that people who drink sugar-sweetened beverages before a meal often consume more calories during their meals compared to people who drink water beforehand. Simply drinking water before a meal before can reduce your caloric intake and help you lose weight over time. 

Drinking water aids metabolic processes

Your body undergoes billions of metabolic reactions everyday in order to maintain proper functioning. Water plays a vital role as the medium for lots of these reactions, including cellular respiration. It's known as the solvent of the human body, dissolving and circulating the various substances that keep us going.

Drinking water helps maintain body temperature

When your body temperature increases due to the weather or physical exertion, your body relies on sweat to dissipate heat. Adequate amounts of water in the body helps make this process more efficient. 

The consequences of dehydration

Failure to drink water can begin to impact your body very quickly. Drink a healthy amount of water (about 1 oz. per pound of body weight) every day to avoid the nasty side-effects of dehydration.

Reduced physical performance

Even modest amounts of fluid loss (about 2% of body mass) can result in impaired performance, which is exacerbated by increased water loss. When your performance is at stake—be it mental or athletic!—it’s essential to stay hydrated.  

Disruption of mood and cognitive ability

Just as your physical activity suffers with dehydration, your cognitive abilities also suffer. If you don’t drink enough water, you may experience impaired performance on various everyday tasks involving use of your short-term memory, perceptual discrimination, arithmetic ability, visuomotor tracking, and psychomotor skills. These effects are apparent even in mild to moderate dehydration! 

Dehydration can lead to headaches

Studies show that dehydration can lead to headaches, with pain arising from the meninges. The authors of this study also speculated “that water deprivation may play a role in migraine, particularly in prolonging attacks”. In the study, participants experienced total relief within 30 minutes after drinking 200—1500 mL of water.

In conclusion: stay hydrated (here’s how)!

As you can see, the consequences of even mild dehydration are something you very much want to avoid, especially if you’re studying for those all-important board exams. There’s an ocean of knowledge to explore when it comes to learning about how water affects our bodies, and this post is really just a drop in the bucket. Puns aside, I hope this blog has given you something to think about, especially on Hydration Day!

If you find staying hydrated to be a challenge, consider investing in a water bottle (we have some nice ones in the Osmosis Swag Shop) and keeping it next to you throughout the day. The visual cue of a conveniently available water bottle really helps push you to drink additional fluids so you can hit that targeted amount each day. 

This wraps up our brief discussion on hydration. I hope it has inspired you to drink more water every day! 

About Ishan

Ishan Dahal is Osmosis's health and wellness coach. When he's not working out with his Osmosis teammates or brushing up on health and wellness literature, he's spending time with his family (via video chat!), going on long, solo walks with an audio-book, or contemplating what vegetables will he get next week.

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