With the stifling temperatures and humidity of late summer not going away anytime soon, you may find yourself reaching for a cool glass of ice water more often than usual. Whether you’re a habitual H2O consumer or tend to flavor other thirst-quenchers, I’ve compiled a list of benefits that’ll convince you to drink more water no matter what the mercury reads.
1. Maintain your body’s fluid balance
You’ve likely heard before that approximately 60% of our bodies are made up of water. But we lose that water each day in a variety of ways, from sweat to the stomach flu. Drinking water daily is the best way to maintain your body’s balance of fluids, which helps your body function its best, from digestion to body temperature regulation.
2. Fuel your muscles
When you exercise, you sweat — and as I mentioned above, when you sweat, you lose water. Even losing as little as 2% of your body’s fluids can decrease physical performance; when your muscles lose water, they feel tired, which is why drinking water throughout your workout can help you push through for that final set.
3. Feel full and control calories
Over the years a number of studies have established a connection between drinking water and weight loss. Why? You may be misreading your feeling of hunger for thirst, and drinking a glass of water helps us feel full. So next time you’re hungry half an hour after eating, try reaching for a tall drink of water first.
4. Relieve fatigue and increase energy
Fun fact: our brains are mostly water. Water has been shown to increase focus and productivity, promote clearer thinking — and because one of the symptoms of dehydration is fatigue, drinking more water just may help your energy levels as well.
5. Aid digestion
Because water is essential to the digestion process, drinking enough of it adds fluids to the colon, promoting regularity, relieving constipation, and keeping things moving.
6. Aid kidney function
The kidneys are other stars of the body’s waste removal system, processing 200 quarts of blood on a daily basis, removing waste and delivering urine to our bladders. But they rely on fluids to keep this system functioning, so drinking enough water is essential to kidney health.
In the U.S., water is still only the second most popular beverage, with soda taking first prize. But not only does soda not replace any lost fluids, the caffeine in it can be a diuretic, actually causing you to urinate more and lose more fluids. Drink more soda than water in a given day, and you can grow dehydrated. And then there’s the sugar content. So the best bet for your body is to kick the can habit and make water your go-to drink.