Cedar Hall Clinic Sports Injury & Sports Massage specialist Angela Mooney explains why she has re-discovered her enthusiasm and appreciation for water
I was going to drone on about my boot camp journey so far and about how I had to take my weight and measurements beforehand and how I’ve been doing metabolic enhancing workouts in the park 3 times a week come rain or shine (which is actually pretty great by the way) and how 2 weeks on I’ve lost over half a stone and a total of 10.5 inches, but actually I’m gonna save that until next time.
Now I’m going to bang on about the benefits of drinking water and what I’ve personally discovered about this from doing boot camp, and I don’t mean drinking 1-2 glasses a day I mean REALLY drinking water. I’m one of the biggest culprits for not drinking enough despite knowing the benefits and advising patients on their water intake, but as part of the boot camp regime I have been required to drink 3-4 litres of water a day, plus cut out all tea, coffee and fizzy or carbonated drinks.
My first thought was ‘OMG’ after all general guidelines are to drink 2 litres, but I wanted this to work so in for a penny, in for a pound. I have to admit that for the last couple of years I have struggled to get going in the mornings; feeling tired & groggy with a thick head and stuffy nose, but not any more. From the very first day of drinking 3 litres of water I had the best sleep ever. I woke up bright and alert with more energy than I’ve had in a long time. My nose and head were completely clear. This is now how I feel most mornings. The only day that this didn’t happen was when I ate some chocolate (banned by the way) the night before. I had the worst nights sleep haunted with bad dreams, hence my life long relationship with chocolate has now sadly come to an end.
So WHY should you drink water???
1. Water is the ultimate beauty treatment. It keeps the skin clear and hydrated more than any cream can. It also plumps up the capillaries which can help to reduce the appearance of wrinkles.
2. Water helps your body to burn fat more easily and build muscle creating a more defined body shape. It also helps to reduce appetite as most people confuse feeling thirsty with feeling hungry. Not only that but when you are even a little dehydrated fat cells become harder to breakdown, so if you are trying to diet but are not drinking enough you will find fat loss harder to achieve.
3. Drinking water helps to fight infections all over the body not only because it flushes away toxins but you are more likely to pick up colds or the latest community bug if you are dehydrated. It is especially good for preventing urine and kidney infections and helps to keep the kidneys healthy. It helps to clear the nose and sinus passages thereby easing congestion during a cold.
4. It keeps you regular. Water aids bowel function and helps prevent constipation and piles, thereby keeping the bowels healthy.
5. Drinking water improves concentration and alertness. Even if you are only a little dehydrated it can deplete your mental health by up to 20%. The brain is made up of approximately 85%water so dehydration affects your short term memory and concentration as the brains energy levels decrease.
6. Drinking water reduces the risk of heart attack. The heart is the hardest working muscle in the body and needs lots of water to support its function. When you get dehydrated your blood becomes thicker therefore your heart has to work harder. A study by the water company EDEN found that drinking 5 glasses or more a day can reduce the risk of heart attack by 40%.
7. Water helps to lubricate and cushion the joints by keeping the cartilage healthy. As we get older the cartilage between the joints can become thinner due to wear and tear and they require more water to keep them healthy. If you are not drinking enough then your joints will start to suffer.
8. You will be more energised. In the same way that your brain slows down without enough water so does you body. Water is distributed in the body as so:- muscles 75%, bones 22%, blood 83%. If you are dehydrated these areas will not work as well as they should and become fatigued. So if you want to give your whole body a boost drink more water.
Many people who I tell to drink more water respond with “but I’ll be forever running to the toilet”. Well yes initially you will and this could last for about a week, but this is because your body is rehydrating itself and getting rid of all the stored water that it has been holding on to because you haven’t been giving it enough. It may seem strange to say but one of the best treatments for water retention is to drink more water. But how often do you consider to be a lot? You should be going to the loo at least 6 times a day minimum. Going to the toilet is an essential bodily function, not an inconvenience. It is how the body gets rid of toxins that build up in the body as we go about our daily lives. If you are not going to the toilet often enough to eliminate these toxins they must be stored in the body, usually in the kidneys thereby putting pressure on these organs and weakening them or leading to infection. Do you really want to walk around with these stored in your body? Wouldn’t you rather just drink more water and eliminate them from your system?
You could look good, feel good and be more healthy.