Massachusetts Daily Collegian

The real importance of water for our health

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(Collegian file photo)

(Collegian file photo)

After surviving a challenging spin class at the gym, spending hours studying in the library and listening to your professor lecture for an hour and 15 minutes, it’s almost time for dinner when you begin to develop a headache and feel extremely fatigued.

Dehydration could be the secret culprit causing these uncomfortable symptoms.

We constantly hear people say, “Always drink more water” or, “Make sure you drink at least six to eight glasses of water every day.” But do you truly know why water is essential for our health and what might happen if we don’t supply our bodies with enough of it?

Making up 60 percent of a person’s weight, water is required to help make every system of the body function properly. Every organ, tissue and cell directly depends on water to maintain adequate health.

The body needs to be constantly supplied with enough water to replace the liquids lost throughout the day from breathing, perspiring due to exercise and excreting wastes through urination and bowel movements.

Let’s take an in-depth look at some important reasons to drink water:

1. Drinking water helps to provide you with energy to live life to the fullest. One of the first signs of dehydration is fatigue.

A well-hydrated body helps promote good blood circulation and increases oxygen levels in the body. With more circulation and oxygen, the body will have more energy to perform daily tasks, both physical and mental.

2. Drinking water will help energize your muscles. Without an adequate amount of fluids, muscle cells have a harder time functioning, which can negatively impact your performance.

While it is important to drink water throughout the entire day, it is especially important to stay hydrated while exercising. Whether you take a group fitness class, go for a run in the town of Amherst or walk around the Recreation Center track, your body will lose a good amount of water through sweating. Always remember to bring a full water bottle when you hit the gym.

3. Drinking water can help control calorie intake and prevent weight gain. Staying hydrated is important in regulating your metabolism.

Dehydration can sometimes be mistaken for hunger, so try reaching for a second glass of water before a second dinner plate. Studies show that drinking water before a meal helps to decrease one’s appetite.

4. Drinking water will help hydrate your skin, as well. Your skin acts as protective barrier to prevent too much fluid loss. If you don’t provide your body with enough water, the skin is likely to become dry and flaky and possibly more prone to wrinkles.

Water also helps to flush out toxins and remove dirt from deep inside the pores of you skin. Remember to drink more water to help cleanse your skin, giving you a fresh feeling and a clear complexion.

Although the ideal amount of water is debated – some people say it’s necessary to drink six to eight glasses, while others say people should drink a gallon of water every day – the important message is to make it a goal to drink more water than you did the day before. Try to always carry a water bottle with you wherever you go and preferably make it a reusable one.

While foods, especially fruits and vegetables, can provide your body with water, the best way to increase your water consumption is to simply drink more water.

If the thought of plain water doesn’t excite you, try infusing your water with fruit. I love cutting up strawberries and kiwis and adding these to my mason jar filled with water.

Get creative. From oranges and blueberries to cucumbers and limes, toss your favorite fruits into your water bottle and enjoy it consistently throughout the day.

Haley Harzynski can be reached at [email protected]

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