All but the least attentive of public school students are vaguely aware of the human body’s being comprised of approximately 65-70% water, a percentage which lines up rather closely with the earth’s 71% water composition. We are our mother’s children, it would seem. Unlike so many of those trace minerals and essential oils upon which human organisms rely for good health and proper function, water is the very essence of life itself. After all, life on this cosmic vessel (or so-called “pale blue dot”) did, indeed, originate in the oceans. The life-sustaining blood of land-based fauna possesses considerable chemical similarity with seawater, further underscoring water’s central role in bodily vitality. And blood is but one component of the mammalian organism to benefit greatly from proper hydration.
Organs both internal and external alike are acutely sensitive to changes in one’s hydration levels, and such changes can result in drawbacks cosmetic and functional alike.
Though keeping oneself properly hydrated is important for any number of perfectly good reasons, those listed below should be front of mind for individuals of all health/fitness levels. After all, these five critical roles water plays in your health are as applicable to the maintaining of one’s wellbeing as they are to the restoring of vitality for those who tend to neglect their hydration needs. Even many fitness-conscious individuals tend to overlook the role water plays in athletic performance, energy levels, recovery periods, and so on.
In fact, the ubiquity of drinking water (at least in the developed world) renders it more likely to be marginalized, as athletes and exercise-focused people focus heavily on protein-laden foods and supplements. For instance, among the five critical roles water plays in your health is that of digestion (see below), which is to say that proper hydration contributes greatly to the absorption of protein and vitamins. But we’re ahead of ourselves…
Five Critical Roles Water Plays in Your Health
1. Digestion—Put simply, water facilitates the movement of food and waste through one’s digestive tract. In addition to keeping one “regular” in terms of movements, adequate hydration ensures the intestines will extract nutrition more wholly and efficiently than would they in an under-hydrated body. Draw more out of what you ingest by coupling it with a glass or two of water.
2. Blood health—Blood is, among other things, a fluid. A life-bringing, miraculous fluid. Thus, the health of one’s blood hinges heavily upon one’s water intake. In a properly watered body, blood is comprised of something in the range of 90% water. Anything less than that and blood pressure is wont to increase, as a more viscous fluid requires greater force to be pumped. Keep your blood fluidic—hydrate.
3. Join repair—Our musculoskeletal systems rely greatly upon resilient, vital joints to achieve locomotion and other forms of physiological activity. These joints are enormously dependent upon water for both reliable, sustained function as for the repair of what is more or less inevitable degradation. Specifically, the padding which safeguards joints from friction and impact is far more vulnerable to deterioration in the absence of water than are they when it is abundant.
4. Kidney function—Renal health is difficult to overstate, as our kidneys exist in a state of constant of filtration. About the size of a clenched fist, kidneys (which thankfully come in pairs) are responsible for the endless task of cleansing one’s blood of toxins and impurities. Proper hydration provides the body’s filtration mechanism a leg (or kidney) up.
5. Complexion—What list of this sort is complete without an appeal for aesthetic well being? As it happens, the benefits articulated above collectively contribute to skin health, as the skin (our most visible organ) tends to reflect the health of that which lies within. The achieving of youthful elasticity is within reach, provided a bottle or glass of potable water happens to inhabit your grasp.
Water is supremely essential (truly, it is life’s very essence) to bodily health, yet it is often regrettably overlooked, at least where necessary quantities of consumption are concerned. A person might be easily compelled to engage in a few moments of hydration once a feeling of thirst has set in; however, by that point the effects of dehydration are almost certainly manifest within a human body. Hydrating consistently and to such a degree as to ensure one does experience a state of uncomfortable thirstiness should be a hallmark of healthy living, at least for those who value their digestive, circulatory, and epidermal wellbeing.