We always hear “drink more water” and “make sure you’re hydrated”. We know/accept that it’s good for us, but do you really know why? Our overall hydration and water intake affect many different systems in our body that we need to have operating at full capacity to feel our best. Let’s break it down a bit...
HEART HEALTH (this is a big one):
There’s a certain amount of blood we’re supposed to have circulating in our body (blood volume) at all times. When we’re dehydrated that blood volume decreases, so our heart has to work harder to pump blood through the body. When we’re well-hydrated and that blood volume is at its ideal level, it’s easier for the heart to do its job!
When we’re dehydrated and the heart starts working harder to pump blood, our blood pressure rises. This isn’t bad short term, but chronic dehydration can lead to blood pressure being elevated long-term, otherwise known as hypertension. If untreated, over time this can lead to heart disease or increased risk of stroke!
When you’re exercising, especially when doing cardio, your heart has to work harder to supply oxygen (which is carried by our blood) and other nutrients to our muscles. Because of this, when we exercise our heart rate is supposed to increase. If you’re dehydrated, you could see your heart rate spike a lot; this makes it harder to continue exercising at the intensity you want because your heart is working extra hard to keep up with the demands from your body. Remember, the heart is also made of muscle!
Our body is always removing waste from things we ingest and from the different processes our body completes to keep us functioning. We mainly remove waste through urinating, sweating, and having bowel movements. Being appropriately hydrated helps this ongoing waste removal, preventing issues such as constipation, kidney stones, or bladder infections.
Synovial fluid is produced by the body to lubricate our joints, and we need water to produce it. This is especially important if you know you have arthritis, that lubrication is key to decreasing pain and stiffness!
Sweating is how we cool ourselves down! We need to be hydrated and have enough water in our bodies in order to sweat, but the more we sweat, the more water we lose. This is why it’s so important in the warmer months and with physical activity to drink more - in order to replace the water you lost!