Hydration is a critical component of your wellness regimen. So why is it that we all know that it benefits us to stay hydrated yet we continuously fail to drink enough water or eat hydrating foods? Drinking water keeps our metabolic and detoxification processes running smoothly. Proper hydration regulates our body temperature through sweat, transports nutrients through our blood, and helps us discard our waste through urine. It keeps our skin looking refreshed, cushions our joints and also keeps our cognitive skills sharp. Water is a major component of the muscles and organs but different body parts have different water contents. For example:
- Blood is approximately 93 percent water.
- Muscle is about 73 percent water.
- Body fat is about 10 percent water.
The bioelectrical impedance (BIA) method of measuring body fat that I use with my Tanita scale is actually measuring body water. This is the reason why it's important to be well hydrated by avoiding hard workouts, drinking alcohol or caffeine prior to testing. The BIA formula estimates the ratio of water to muscle and fat. If you are dehydrated, you'll end up with an inaccurate (higher) estimate of body fat.
General wisdom has dictated that it is important to stay ahead of getting thirsty, but new research is showing that thirst is an accurate measure of hydration. So is there actually a right time to drink water? Apparently, drinking water at certain times can optimize certain processes.
- 16 oz of water immediately after waking up helps activate internal organs and raise metabolism.
- 8oz of water 30 minutes before a meal aids digestion and helps you better absorb nutrients.
- 8oz before taking a bath helps lower blood pressure.
- 8oz of water before going to bed is great for cardiovascular health and helps you avoid stroke or cramping.
If you're an athlete, it's particularly important for you to stay well hydrated as just 1% dehydration can negatively reduce performance by 10%. I can tell when I haven't had enough water and I train hard. My mouth will feel like cotton balls and my tongue feels huge. Plus, I will get a headache after working out and feel a bit nauseous. In addition, the quality of my skin reflects this lack of hydration. From an anti-aging perspective, drinking plenty of water keeps you looking young!