The Importance of Drinking Water

It is a common saying that one should drink six to eight cups of water a day. Although we are all told this many times, recent studies are showing that a large percentage of children are not meeting their reference intake of water. With this information, it can be inferred that most adults are also not reaching their necessary amount of water intake either. This means that mild dehydration is quickly becoming a normal condition to deal with. This problem is most likely caused by the large amount of alternatives to water such as juice, milk, soda, coffee, etc. Children and adults are ignoring water for these drinks that are actually more likely to dehydrate you. While it may seem like this is not a problem, mild dehydration can affect your health in many negative ways.

Mental health can be altered by something as simple as mild dehydration. Considering that about three-fourths of your brain matter is water, lack of hydration probably does impact mental performance. Recent studies show that mild dehydration can alter cognitive performance and mood in people of all ages. Other psychomotor skills such as concentration, alertness, memory, and perception can be moderately influenced by hydration.

A better known health factor linked to hydration is pulmonary health affected by exercise. While exercise does cause evaporative water loss and thus dehydration, a lack of proper hydration before exercise can lead to even more problems in the lungs. Loss of water due to exercise naturally causes bronchoconstriction and thus asthma; this is because the lungs rely on water to keep its mucous linings thin and watery, which improves oxygen exchange. Other health factors linked to dehydration include kidney stones, cardiovascular disease, constipation and other gastrointestinal conditions.

With all of these dysfunctions linked to dehydration, it is important for people to know how much water to intake. A good rule of thumb is to drink half your body weight in ounces of water. Just by doing this you can avoid many negative health symptoms, therefore it should be an easy fix to anyone's lifestyle.