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Health
Proven ways water makes you awesome
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Proven ways water makes you awesome

Proven ways water makes you awesome
Photo Credit: JEFF CHRISTENSEN
Rap artist LL Cool J takes a drink of water as he performs at the "VH1 Hip Hop Honors" show in New York, Thursday, Sept. 22, 2005. (AP Photo/Jeff Christensen)

Proven ways water makes you awesome

This article is presented in partnership with CamelBak, an innovative company creating smart hydration solutions to help people perform at their best. Known as the creator of the hydration backpack, CamelBak offers a variety of hydration products from water bottles and filtration devices to a custom hydration calculator. However You Hydrate, We’ve Got Your Bak.

From the stuff we drink and swim in, to the steam that eases congestion and the ice that reduces swelling, water is all around us (and even in us). Heck, it kind of is us. “Water makes up about 2/3 of who we are, and influences 100 percent of the processes in our body,” says CamelBak hydration expert Doug Casa, PhD. That probably explains why we feel better when we’re drinking enough of it. To learn exactly how water is helping us, as well as some creative ways to use it, check out these 34 reasons why you should go hydrate right now.

1. It could aid weight loss.
Anyone looking to lose weight could be helped by upping their water intake. Studies have found that when participants drink water before a meal, they lose weight faster than those who did not drink water [1] [2]. Extra H2O helps us eat less by making us feel full, and it may also boost metabolism. CamelBak expert and nutritionist Kate Geagan says it’s not uncommon to put on weight by mistaking thirst for hunger, and she offers this pro tip: Next time you feel fatigued or sluggish, “drinking water may be just what [you] need to perk up.”

2. It powers our warm-weather exercise.
With the proper precautions, working out in the heat is usually fine — and staying hydrated is one of the most important things you can do. The hotter the workout, thesweatier we tend to get, so it’s extra important to replace those lost fluids. Determining sweat rate informs good rehydration strategy: “Once an athlete [knows his or her] sweat rate, they can begin to practice replacing these fluid losses in training and be optimally prepared for [athletic exertion],” says Casa. 

3. It keeps things moving, digestion-wise.
Water helps us, you know, go by helping dissolve fats and soluble fiber. Drinking enough water prevents constipation and also reduces the burden on the kidneys and liver by helping to flush waste products. Kate Geagan, RD, nutritionist and Camelbak expert breaks it down: “In the large intestine, water binds with fiber to increase the bulk of the stools, reduce transit time and make elimination easier. When you don't drink enough water and fluids, the colon pulls water from stools, increasing your risk of constipation.”

4. It helps endurance athletes fight fatigue.
Water is an integral part of most any workout, and it becomes especially important in order to prevent dehydration during long workouts. When exercising for an hour or more, drinking water treated with carbohydrates and salts (by mixing in tablets such as Nuun, or making a DIY version) can help maintain fluid balance, which aids athletic performance and helps prevent post-exercise fatigue and exhaustion [3]

5. It might protect against some types of cancer.
Research has found that the greater the fluid intake, the lower the incidence ofbladder cancer, with more significant results when the fluid is water [4]. One possiblereason could be that urinating more frequently prevents the buildup of bladder carcinogens. Staying hydrated may also reduce the risk of colon cancer and breast cancer [5].

6. It can improve mood.
Drinking water makes us feel so refreshed that it actually improves our state of mind. You don’t even have to be severely in need of it to benefit: Even mild dehydration has been shown to negatively impact moods [6]

7. Fun, frozen workouts are great for you.
When it’s too snowy or icy to go for a run, or you want a workout that’s as fun as it is good for you, find yourself some frozen water. Try ice skating for a low-impact workout that challenges your balance, get in some hill-work while sledding, get a full-body workout while cross-country skiing, or improve your cardiovascular endurance with snow-shoeing [7].

8. Drinking it may help prevent headaches, naturally.
Going without water for too long causes headaches for some people, and has been identified as a migraine trigger [8] [9]. The good news is that in a study on the effects of water on headaches, participants experienced “total relief” from their headaches within 30 minutes of drinking water (two cups, on average) [8]. Nutritionist Kate Geagan, RD, says a good way to prevent headaches is to stay hydrated throughout the day. And if you’ve already been hit with a  dehydration-triggered headache, you’ll need significantly more water to help it go away. She recommends drinking two to four cups of water for headache relief within one to two hours.

9. It keeps our kidneys working.
Kidneys remove waste from our bodies, help control our blood pressure, and balance fluids, so they’re crucial to keeping our systems running smoothly. One surefire way to keep them working properly? Adequate water consumption! So drink up to keep those kidneys in tip-top shape.

10. Soda water makes healthier cocktails.
Fizzy water is a staple for healthier versions of favorite boozy beverages. Using seltzer water and fresh fruit instead of sugary mixers makes for a delicious, better-for-you drink (that can also help prevent dehydration).

11. It energizes us.
Next time you’re feeling zonked, try drinking a couple glasses of water. Feeling tiredis one of the first signs of dehydration and filling back up on H2O could zap the sleepiness [6]

12. It may help keep us alert.
If you’re going to need to concentrate for long periods of time, keep water handy to help you stay refreshed, hydrated, and focused: Dehydration can impair your attention span, memory, and motor skills [12][13].

13. Soaking in a warm bath or shower may make us feel less lonely.
Researchers have concluded that when people are lonely and seeking connectedness, they spend more time in warm baths and showers, substituting physical warmth for emotional warmth [14]. Doing so seems to ease loneliness and feelings of isolation. Warm baths may also cue oxytocin, the hormone responsible for making us feel relaxed and bonded with others. Typically released when we’re experiencing closeness to others, researchers believe that rises in body temperature can cause it to be released, too (though we should mention that this study was done on rats, not humans) [15].

14. It protects our joints and cartilage.
Water keeps the cartilage around our joints hydrated and supple, ensuring that our joints stay lubricated. It also protects our spinal cord and tissues, keeping us healthyfrom the inside out. Camelbak expert Kate Geagan, RD explains that cartilage — the rubbery material that coats our bones — is about 85 percent water. To keep this protective material healthy, we need to keep hydrated.

15. It powers our cold-weather workouts.
Most of us think of those sweaty, summer workouts as the ones we should be guzzling water before, during, and after. But staying hydrated while exercising in the cold is crucial, too: One of the ways our bodies lose water is through respiration, and when we exercise in the cold, we’re working harder under the extra layers of clothing and breathing more heavily as a result. But even though we’re doubling down on fluid loss, one study found that cold weather weakens thirst. The result? We’re working hard, losing water, and not getting any body cues to drink up, which can lead to dehydration [16].

16. It cleans non-toxically.
Whether you need to clean your home, clothes, dishes, laundry, or yourself, water is the basic ingredient in many all-natural cleaning products. These products have all the cleansing punch with none of the toxicity, which is better for homes, health, and the environment.

17. It takes the edge off of hangovers. Drinking alcohol causes dehydration, which can lead to hangovers. Having a glass ofwater with each alcoholic drink you sip is one way to offset the dehydration (and the day-after misery).

Those are only half the ways that water makes you awesome! For all 34 proven ways, go to Greatist.com.

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