“Eight glasses of water a day” has become the mantra for overall good health. But, how do these 8 glasses benefit us?
You may be surprised to learn that around 60% of your entire body is made up of water. This water is essential for many body functions, some of which have been mentioned below.
- A balance in body fluids is very important to maintain the optimal body temperature, and facilitate digestion, absorption, transportation of nutrients and circulation.
- Water energizes muscles as dehydrated muscle cells can shrivel up causing muscle fatigue.
- Well-hydrated skin is supple, healthy and youthful looking. A good moisturizer further helps lock this moisture in your skin by forming a physical barrier.
- A good intake of fluids assists your kidneys in flushing out toxic wastes from your body. When you drink less water, your brain signals the kidneys to retain more water and triggers a thirst mechanism.
- Water also assists in easy bowel movements and prevents constipation. Without enough water, the large intestine takes up water from the stools, making them hard and difficult to pass.
Apart from all these benefits, sufficient water intake can also help keep your bones healthy. Like all cellular functions, bone cells and tissues also require water for growth and sustenance. The role of water for bone health include:
- Building strong bones: The process of bone remodeling, where the mature bone tissue is replaced with new bone tissue (ossification), requires sufficient water intake.
- Fight or flight response: When the body does not get enough water, its starts secreting certain stress hormones in response to a crisis situation. The body’s water reserves are directed from the bones and other organs to tissues that need it the most – the brain. One of the consequences of this is accelerated bone loss.
- Cushioning your back bone and joints: The smooth articular cartilage that line the bones of joints and spongy discs between the bones in your back help you bend and move around freely. But, without sufficient water content, they shrink and do not fare well, allowing the bones to painfully rub against each other – a major cause of back and joint pain.
It is important to know that not all liquids hydrate the body. Caffeine and alcohol act as a diuretic, which means that the body gives up thrice the amount of precious water from its cells to accommodate the vitality and boost of energy that you feel every time you have a glass of alcohol or any caffeinated beverage.
Now that we know how the simple act of hydrating your body can benefit overall activities of the body, it is only a matter of developing a habit of drinking plenty of water to maintain good overall health and strong bones.
Dr. Domb is a nationally recognized orthopaedic surgeon specializing in sports medicine and arthroscopic surgery of the hip, shoulder and knee. A noted pioneer in advanced new techniques in hip arthroscopy, he delivers innovative treatments for patients with hip injuries such as impingement and labral tears. Dr. Domb is also an expert in arthroscopic surgery of the shoulder and knee, adept in specialized techniques including arthroscopic rotator cuff repair and all-inside ACL reconstruction.