importance of hydration

Courtesy of MCT

Courtesy of MCT

Drinking water. To some, that means quenching one’s thirst and keeping ourselves refreshed when it’s hot out.

To others, it’s a “boring” drink as well as a tedious task, but it doesn’t have to be that way—nor should it be.

It is advised that it is essential to stay hydrated, but truth be told, many people aren’t exactly drinking enough water.

Michael Stragie, 22, a mechanical engineering major, says he tries to stay hydrated throughout the day, but feels it’s still probably not enough unless he is at the gym, where there’s plenty of water fountains around—cleaner ones, too.

“I try to do 100 ounces a day, but sometimes I just don’t have water available, especially by the engineering building,” said Stragie. “Those drinking fountains are a little gross.”

In a survey conducted by Yankelovich Partners for the Rockefeller University and the International Bottled Water Association, only 34 percent of Americans are consuming the required daily amount of water. According to the survey, 28 percent say they drink no more than two servings a day, while roughly 10 percent don’t drink any water at all.

Not getting enough fluids in your body imminently leads to dehydration. The main signs of dehydration are thirst and dry mouth. Other symptoms include rapid heartbeat, dizziness, low or no production of urine and clammy skin.

If dehydration carries on long enough, it would be classified as chronic, and it could increase the risk of urinary tract infection. In order to prevent kidney failure, dehydration should be treated quickly.

Without a doubt, these health complications are to be avoided. In order to do so, one should drink an adequate amount of water each day.

But what counts as a sufficient amount? According to the Institute of Medicine, men should drink three liters (13 cups) a day, and women should drink 2.2 liters (nine cups) a day. Of course, one’s lifestyle also plays a role in how much water one should drink as well. Certain medications, such as antibiotics, call for plenty of fluids.

Exercise requires more water consumption, especially after exercising. In addition to water, it is also helpful to have a sports drink on hand during workouts, like student Felice DeLa Cruz does.

“I don’t always have access to the water fountain, but I try bringing water bottles almost everyday … (about) one or two,” said DeLa Cruz, 19, a kinesiology major. “Or, sometimes I substitute it with Gatorade or whatever I have at home.”

There are many benefits to staying hydrated besides keeping cool and refreshed. Drinking plenty of fluids could help regulate your metabolism.

Water assists the body in breaking down the food into energy as well as boosting the body’s ability to metabolize stored fat. A study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism found drinking about 17 ounces of water increases one’s metabolic rate by 30 percent.

Proper hydration could also reward people with healthier skin, stronger teeth and bones, and reduced water retention.

Many people do not take into account another benefit of hydration, a healthier state of mind. Studies conducted by the University of Connecticut’s Human Performance Laboratory have shown that even mild dehydration could negatively affect one’s cognitive state, causing people to experience anxiety and tension, fatigue and difficulty concentrating. As a solution, keeping hydrated allows for people to think more clearly and be able to take part in daily activities successfully.

So don’t just wait until the next time you feel thirsty to finally take a sip or gulp from your bottle or glass of water.

Take into consideration all the good things staying hydrated could do for you and save yourself some trouble.

About Jennifer Nguyen