Why hydration is so important

There’s been more than one occasion when I’ve had a client sitting with me in clinic who tells me they don’t drink water. Their beverages range from coffee, black tea, juice, soft drink, and maybe a glass or two of water. When I ask why they don’t drink water, the replies range from “I forget”, “I’m not thirsty” or, “I don’t like water”.

Then there’s the opposite end of the spectrum; clients who tell me they’re drinking about four litres a day.  Yes, if you’re doing a lot of exercising or spending time outside, this is important, but some of these clients aren’t. When I ask if they drink this much because they are thirsty, I’m often met with replies of, “I drink this much because XX on insta said I should.”

To a certain extent, we all know that drinking water is important for us; but do you know why?

Knowledge sparks action

I truly believe that when we know why we do something, or why something is good for us, we’re more likely to action it. So, today I wanted to take some time to talk about some specific reasons as to why we need water, and why it’s good for us.

There are four functional categories of water in our body: transportation vehicle, medium for chemical reactions, lubricant/shock absorber, and temperature regulator.

Feeling stagnant?

Water is often called the ‘universal solvent’, as more substances can be dissolved in water than any other fluid.  These substances include amino acids, sugars, vitamins, and minerals. Water suspends these molecules and helps the solvents be easily transported. An example of this is blood; it is mostly made of water which transports glucose, electrolytes, proteins, and facilitates removal of waste products.

Feeling reactive?

In our bodies, water is the prime environment for enzymatic reactions to occur. Water has a neutral charge and neutral pH of 7.0.  This means water won’t interact with other reactions or limit them.

Feeling shocked?

Just like on a Slip’n’Slide on a hot summer’s day, water functions to provide lubrication in our bodies. It surrounds organs such as the lungs and joints to provide ease of movement and reduction in friction. It also lubricates the food we chew and the lining of our digestive tract, to help allow food to pass through with ease. Water also acts to protect our organs and structures; it surrounds our brain to provide cushioning from impact, and amniotic fluid protects a growing foetus.

Feeling hot, hot, hot?

Our body needs to stay in a very narrow range of temperature. If we get too hot or too cold, then chemical reactions stop happening and our metabolism is thrown out of whack. One way that water helps to regulate our temperature, that I’m sure we’re all familiar with, is sweating. When we get a little too hot, heat exits our body through the skin. When the water evaporates, it helps to cool us down.

Feeling ready to make a change?

So, now that you have a better understanding as to how water functions in our body, do you think it might help prompt you to drink a little bit more? Or, if you’re at the other end of the scale, maybe you might see that more isn’t always better, as our body is so good at regulating what we have. Over the next few weeks, as the seasons start changing, I invite you to be more mindful with how much water you’re drinking and what is driving this for you.