As soon as their strenuous workout is over, the first thing many exercise enthusiasts do is reach for their bottled water or water bottle, and who can blame them? Athletes do this almost without thinking, as a reflex. They know to do this not only to quench the thirst right now, but also to rehydrate the body as a first step toward post-workout recovery.
Almost all of us drink water during the day without really thinking about it. We get thirsty; we drink water – not much thought given. Water is a lot like late comedian Rodney Dangerfield: it doesn't get a whole lot of respect. It's not the first thing you are holding to your lips when washing down pizza, or clinking glasses together as a toast while enjoying fancy cuisine at a white-tablecloth restaurant, or when you're in the stands at a Bears-Packers game, your face painted green and gold, while you guzzle from a cold one in between yells at the officials.
While water might be "free," clear, tasteless, without calories and dull, we still should call it the underappreciated elixir of life when it comes to good health. Maybe you are having trouble falling asleep, or you feel a touch of cold or a cough coming on, or maybe you ate something that left you queasy, dare we say nauseous, and now you want a quick solution other than giving in to the call of the medicine cabinet. A glass of water might help, and it might not take long to get to work.
According to organicfacts.net, the benefits of drinking water extend to maintaining proper pH balance, body temperature and metabolism. It can also help for constipation, heartburn, migraines, gastritis, kidney stones, backache and other afflictions, although a healthcare professional should be consulted if problems such as those persist. Water is not a cure-all, but it can be a part of the solution. That should come as no shock, considering our bodies are 60 percent composed of water.
Think of Water as a Nutrient
"Think of water as a nutrient your body needs that is present in liquids, plain water, and foods," says Joan Koelemay, a registered dietitian with the Beverage Institute, quoted on webmd.com. "All of these are essential daily to replace the large amounts of water lost each day."
Water can help regulate calorie intake (which can play a role in purposeful weight loss, especially if used as a substitute for high-calorie beverages), aid in the performance of muscle cells, assist your kidneys in flushing out of toxins and other wastes, help maintain normal bowel function and even contribute to good-looking skin. "Dehydration makes your skin look more dry and wrinkled, which can be improved with hydration," Dr. Kenneth Ellner, an Atlanta dermatologist, tells webmd.com.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have reported that water also can help lubricate and cushion joints, protect your spinal cord and rid your body of wastes through other means, such as urination and perspiration.
Think About Eating Your Water Needs
You don't have to only drink water to supply it to your body; about 20 percent of our fluid intake, according to webmd.com, comes from food. Oatmeal, beans, celery, tomatoes, melons and broth-based soups are singled out as particularly rich sources. Generally speaking, think fruits and vegetables, such as watermelon and spinach, which, according to mayoclinic.org, are composed of "90 percent or more water by weight."
One familiar maxim of how much water to drink a day suggests eight eight-ounce glasses, and that pregnant women should drink more water than usual. If counting and measuring water servings isn't your thing, then consider drinking some when you get thirsty, during meals, and a little while before, then during and again after your extended exercise, and maybe sipping some during the day. Think of water as indispensable and deserving of your utmost respect.