When it comes to filling up on fluids, drinking water is something most people just don’t do enough. In the hustle and bustle of everyday life, it can be hard to keep track of the number of ounces of water you’ve consumed every day, especially when the benefits of water can sometimes seem so subtle or irrelevant. But the fact of the matter is, drinking water can have countless subtle effects on your daily life, your performance and your long-term health.
So what’s the easiest way how to tell if you’re drinking enough water? It’s simple: Listen to your body.
Your body has a built-in mechanism to let you know when it doesn’t have enough water––thirst. Your body loses water throughout the day from your sweat glands and urine, and that water needs replenishing. When you’re thirsty, don’t ignore your body, and don’t swap out the water for sodas, teas or coffees. Caffeine is a diuretic, which will only cause even more fluid loss.
Dehydration plays out in myriad of ways, and they aren’t limited to the classical symptoms of severe dehydration. Sure, you can get headaches, faint, feel nauseous or get dizzy spells, but there are several stops on the road to dehydration that play out much more immediately and have a much subtler impact on your health. For example, even being mildly dehydrated can hinder cognitive performance. It can also cause bloating and water retention, as well as bad breath. Additionally, dehydration can cause irritability, frustration and anxiety, so it’s worth paying attention to your water levels when you’re in a bad mood.
Where not drinking water has a multitude of downsides, actually drinking it has a host of plusses: Drinking enough water can boost your immune system, help you lose weight and reduce the cell damage that causes skin to age over time. So next time you get ready for the day, make a little extra time to get enough water in your system. Either get your eight cups of eight ounces, or drink half of your weight in ounces. Stay hydrated, my friends.