We all know that water is good for us, but often the reasons are a little fuzzy. And even if we know why we should drink water, it’s not a habit that many people form. But there are some very powerful reasons to drink lots of water every day, and forming the habit isn’t hard, with a little focus.
Water is one of the most powerful weight loss tools, because it can replace high-calorie drinks like soft drinks, often when we think we’re hungry, we’re actually just thirsty. Water has no fat, no calories, no carbohydrates, and no sugar.
Drinking a good amount of water could lower your risks of a heart attack. A six-year study published in the Journal of Epidemiology found that those who drink more than 5 glasses of water a day were 41% less likely to die from a heart attack during the study period than those who drank less than two glasses.
Drinking a healthy amount of water has been found to reduce the risk of colon cancer by 45% and bladder cancer by 50% and potentially reduce the risk of breast cancer.
Being dehydrated can sap your energy and make you feel tired – even mild dehydration of as little as 1 or 2 percent of your body weight. If you’re thirsty, you’re already dehydrated – and this can lead to fatigue, muscle weakness, dizziness and even fainting.
Another symptom of dehydration is headaches. In fact, most headaches can simply be a matter of not drinking enough water.
Drinking water can clear up your skin and people often report a healthy glow after drinking water. It won’t happen overnight, but just a week of drinking a healthy amount of water can have noticeable effects on your skin.
Water is used by the body to help flush out toxins and waste products.
Our digestive systems need a good amount of water to digest food properly. Often water can help cure stomach acid problems, and water along with fibre can cure constipation (often a result of dehydration).
Being dehydrated can severely hamper your athletic activities, slowing you down and making it harder to perform at your peak. Exercise requires additional water, so be sure to hydrate before, during and after exercise.
How to form the water habit.
- How much water?
It is not good to just drink when your thirsty - you're already dehydrated by then. Form a routine by drinking a glass when you wake up, a glass before each meal, a glass between meals, and be sure to drink before, during and after exercise. Try to keep yourself from feeling thirsty, and ensure that you have long clear wee. (This means drink a minimum of 2 litres per day).
- Carry a bottle.
A lot of people find it useful to keep a bottle of water at their desk, and drink from it throughout the day. When it's empty, fill it up again, and keep drinking.
- Set a reminder.
Set your watch to beep at the top of each hour, or set a periodic computer reminder, so that you don't forget to drink water.
- Substitute water.
If you would normally get a soft drink, or an alcoholic beverage, get a glass of water instead. Try sparkling water instead of alcohol at social functions.
Instead of spending a fortune on bottled water, invest in a filter for your home. It'll make tap water taste like bottled, at a fraction of the price.
Exercise can help make you want to drink water more. It's not necessary to drink sports drinks like Gatorade or Powerade when you exercise, unless you are doing it for more than an hour. Just drink water. If you're going to exercise, be sure to drink water a couple of hours ahead of time, so that it will get through your system in time, and again, drink during and after exercise as well.
- Track it.
It often helps, when forming a new habit, to keep track of it - it increases awareness and helps you ensure that you're staying on track.
This article comes from the bestselling book Never Diet Again.