Why Is Drinking Water Good for Me & How Soon Will I See a Difference?

Boy Drinking Out Of Glass
A boy drinking out of a glass. (Image: Ingram Publishing/Ingram Publishing/Getty Images)

Drinking enough water helps your body function better, improves your overall sense of well-being, aids in weight loss and gives you more energy. Simple steps help you up your water intake. Keep a water container at your desk or in your car, add ice cubes to smoothies, eat more water-dense fruits and veggies and substitute soda for water with lemon. Your necessary consumption varies based on the temperature and humidity in your environment, how active you are and other factors. However, as a basic guide, men need 13 cups of fluid daily and women need 9 cups.

Function

Water is the top chemical component in your body, accounting for about 60 percent of your weight, according to MayoClinic.com. Water is necessary for every system in your body to function properly. For example, water helps carry nutrients to cells, flushes toxins from your vital organs, keeps your skin supple and your throat and ear environments moist. When you don’t have enough water your body systems do not work efficiently.

Weight Loss

Drinking adequate water can help you lose weight. When you feel hungry you might actually be craving water. Sipping water throughout the day helps suppress your appetite. Your body also hoards water when you don’t consume enough of it, storing it between your cells. This causes you to carry extra water weight. Your body hangs onto more fat when you are dehydrated as well. That’s because your kidneys don’t work as well and must call on your liver for help. This, in turn, reduces your liver’s ability to burn as much fat as usual, leading to fat deposits in your belly. Water also helps your middle stay slimmer because it helps you avoid constipation.

Energy

Drinking enough water will put more pep in your step. Even mild dehydration saps your energy and decreases your ability to work out or perform sports. The American College of Sports Medicine recommends consuming water before, during and after exercise. Replace any fluid you lose via sweat. Determine how much fluid you've lost by weighing yourself before and after a bout of exercise. For each pound lost you need to consume 16 oz. water. As a general guideline, 1.5 to 2.5 cups is enough for a short bout of exercise, while intense exercise lasting an hour or more requires more, depending on how much you sweat. Don’t rely on thirst as an indicator of when you need to replenish -- usually by the time you feel thirst it’s too late. Also, thirst becomes a less reliable indicator of the need for water as you age.

Time Frame

Increase and monitor your water intake for a month, and you are likely to note a difference in the way you look and feel. You may notice some indications of proper hydration sooner. For example, rarely feeling thirst and producing colorless or slightly yellow urine are signs that your water intake is adequate. Drink about 2 cups water prior to meals during three months of dieting and it may help you shed an extra 4.5 lb., says E.A. Dennis, lead author for a 2010 study published in the journal “Obesity.” The study examined the effect of drinking water prior to meals among obese men and women on restricted-calorie diets. Those not drinking water prior to meals lost an average of 11 lb., while those who drank the water shed an average of 15.5 lb.

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