About Water

32 Proven Ways Water Makes You Awesome

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 (and even in us). Heck, it kind of is us. That probably explains why we feel better when we're drinking enough of it. To learn exactly how water is helping us, as well as some creative ways to use it, check out these 34 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 powers our warm-weather exercise

With the proper precautions, working out in the heat is usually fine and staying hydrated is one of the most important things you can do. The hotter the workout, the sweatier we tend to get, so it's extra important to replace those lost fluids.

3. 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 flush waste products.

4. It helps endurance athletes fight fatigue

Water is an integral part of most any workout, and it becomes especially important in order to prevent dehydration during long workouts. When exercising for an hour or more, drinking water treated with carbohydrates and salts (by mixing in tablets such as Nuun, or making a DIY version) can help maintain fluid balance, which aids athletic performance and helps prevent post-exercise fatigue and exhaustion.

5. It might protect against some types of cancer

Research has found that the greater the fluid intake, the lower the incidence of bladder cancer, with more significant results when the fluid is water. One possible reason could be that urinating more frequently prevents the buildup of bladder carcinogens. Staying hydrated may also reduce the risk of colon cancer and breast cancer.

6. 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.

7. Fun, frozen workouts are great for you

When it's too snowy or icy to go for a run, or you want a workout that's as fun as it is good for you, find yourself some frozen water. Try ice skating for a low-impact workout that challenges your balance, get in some hill-work while sledding, get a full-body workout while cross-country skiing, or improve your cardiovascular endurance with snow-shoeing.

8. Drinking it may help prevent headaches, naturally

Going without water for too long causes headaches for some people, and has been identified as a migraine trigger. The good news is that in a study on the effects of water on headaches, participants experienced "total relief" from their headaches within 30 minutes of drinking water (two cups, on average), where a good way to prevent headaches is to stay hydrated throughout the day. And if you've already been hit with a dehydration-triggered headache, you'll need significantly more water to help it go away. Its recommended, drinking two to four cups of water for headache relief within one to two hours.

9. It keeps our kidneys working

Kidneys remove waste from our bodies, help control our blood pressure, and balance fluids, so they're crucial to keeping our systems running smoothly. One surefire way to keep them working properly? Adequate water consumption! So drink up to keep those kidneys in tip-top shape.

10. 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.

11. Soda water makes healthier cocktails

Fizzy water is a staple for healthier versions of favorite boozy beverages. Using seltzer water and fresh fruit instead of sugary mixers makes for a delicious, better-for-you drink (that can also help prevent dehydration).

12. It may help keep us alert

If you're going to need to concentrate for long periods of time, keep water handy to help you stay refreshed, hydrated, and focused. Dehydration can impair your attention span, memory, and motor skills.

13. 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. To keep this protective material healthy, we need to keep hydrated.

14. It powers our cold-weather workouts

Most of us think of those sweaty, summer workouts as the ones we should be guzzling water before, during, and after. But staying hydrated while exercising in the cold is crucial, too. One of the ways our bodies lose water is through respiration, and when we exercise in the cold, we're working harder under the extra layers of clothing and breathing more heavily as a result. But even though we're doubling down on fluid loss, one study found that cold weather weakens thirst. The result? We're working hard, losing water, and not getting any body cues to drink up, which can lead to dehydration.

15. Soaking in a warm bath or shower may make us feel less lonely

Researchers have concluded that when people are lonely and seeking connectedness, they spend more time in warm baths and showers. Doing so seems to ease loneliness and feelings of isolation. Warm baths may also cue oxytocin, the hormone responsible for making us feel relaxed and bonded with others. Typically released when we're experiencing closeness to others, researchers believe that rises in body temperature can cause it to be released.

16. 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.

17. It cleans non-toxically

Whether you need to clean your home, clothes, dishes, laundry, or yourself, water is the basic ingredient in many all-natural cleaning products. These products have all the cleansing punch with none of the toxicity, which is better for homes, health, and the environment.

18. Gargling keeps you healthier

A study that followed 400 participants during cold and flu season found that those who gargled water regularly were significantly less likely to contact upper respiratory infections and that when they did, their symptoms weren't as severe. (Maybe it's time to supplement that flu shot with funny throat noises!).

19. Eating it hydrates us deliciously

Water-rich fruits and vegetables like cucumber, watermelon, and strawberries contain minerals, salts, and natural sugars the body needs for optimum hydration levels, so eating them can sometimes rehydrate us more effectively (and a lot more tastily) than water alone.

20. 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.

21. Living near it is good for our health

One study showed that good health is more prevalent the closer one lives to the coast. Whether it's the proximity to sea air, greenery, or opportunities to soak up sunshine on the beach, spending time near the water makes us healthier.

22. 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.

23. Its sounds are soothing

Exposure to unpleasant noises (screams, scrapes, electric drills, subway trains, perhaps?) can elevate our pulse and blood pressure and cause stress hormones to be released. In contrast, in one study, participants rated bubbling water as the most pleasing sound they were asked to listen to. The sounds of water flowing has also been found to have therapeutic effects.

24. Swimming around in it works out the body and mind

Swimming has been found to improve long-term physical and mental health and is a great option for anyone who wants an impact-free cardio workout. Those seeking peace of mind might consider diving in too, spending time in the pool is believed to reduce depression.

25. When frozen, it provides pain and swelling relief for soft tissue injuries

Ice has been shown to be an effective short-term therapy for sprains and strains. Cold packs reduce blood flow and swelling in the affected area and also treat pain.

26. Spending time in cold water is good for athletes

Studies show that immersion in cold water is beneficial for sustained athletic performance in the heat, and for treating muscle damage after exercise. On hot days, immersion in cold water can keep body temperatures level and blood flowing.

27. It's been linked to heart health

Can drinking water keep us heart healthy? There seems to be a link between risk of death from coronary heart disease and water intake. Research has shown both that consuming more water means a lower risk of death from coronary heart disease and that risk of death rises when intake of "high-energy fluids" (like soda and juice) increases.

28. A warm foot bath before bed could help you sleep

One small study found that adults with sleeping problems experienced better sleep and less wakefulness on nights they received a warm water foot bath before going to bed.

29. Waterbeds can help some people with back pain

Perhaps there's a therapeutic reason that waterbeds were all the rage in the '70s and '80s. Research indicates that waterbed mattresses are associated with improving back pain symptoms and providing a good night's sleep (though the benefits were small).

30. 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 neti pot or try a saline nose spray to loosen things up.

31. Spa therapy could relieve pain and aid relaxation

If you suffer from chronic pain, a hot-water soak could help. A review of spa therapy (soaking in baths of hot water or mineral water) showed that it has been an effective treatment for pain and rheumatic disorders.

32. 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.

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