10 Reasons to Use a Water Filter
In order to capitalize on the health benefits of water, it is essential to draw from a clean source of water.
Drinking impure, contaminated water is the leading cause of epidemic disease in developing countries.
There are more than 2100 known drinking water contaminants that may be present in tap water, including several known poisons.
Bottled water does not offer a viable alternative to tap water.
Municipal water treatment facilities cannot always control for the outbreak of dangerous bacterial contaminants in tap water.
The only way to ensure pure, contaminant-free drinking water is through the use of a point-of-use filtration system.
Several types of cancer can be attributed to the presence of toxic materials in drinking water.
Clean, healthy drinking water is essential to a child’s proper mental and physical development.
According to the EPA, lead in drinking water contributes to 480,000 cases of learning disorders in children each year in the United States alone.
It is especially important for pregnant women to drink pure water as lead in drinking water can cause severe birth defects.
20 Interesting and Useful Water Facts
Water is often overlooked and its importance cannot be overstated. Water is the most important nutrient in our body.
The health benefits of water are just too numerous to go without mention. Drinking water for general good health and especially for our purpose, building muscle is a very important topic and shouldn't be neglected.
Water is the most critical nutrient for health, growth, and development. Water is also the most abundant nutrient in the body, not to mention the most important.
Although water does not provide energy in the same way carbohydrates and fat do, it plays a very important role in energy transformation.
Water is the medium in which all energy reactions take place. Therefore, you need to drink a lot of water for health, stamina, fuel, and building muscle.
Water is an important aspect of building muscle. Why? Water is everywhere in your body, sort of like a river flowing through your arteries, veins, and capillaries carrying nutrients to your cells and transporting waste out of the body.
Water basically fills every space in your body and helps form the structures of protein and glycogen.
Muscle and water
In order to move muscle, you need water. Muscle is considered an active tissue and water is found in the highest concentrations in active tissue.
If your body is dehydrated, chances are you're not going to have a very productive weight lifting session. Why? Your muscles are deprived of electrolytes.
Muscles are controlled by nerves.
The electrical stimulation of nerves and contraction of muscles are the result of the exchange of electrolyte minerals dissolved in water.
It's essential that you drink water for health and building muscle. Without enough water, your muscles are not getting enough electrolytes. Muscle strength and control are weakened. If you want to build muscle, then you must keep your body well hydrated.
Water also helps out with the lubrication of your joints. Water is an ingredient in the makeup of the synovial fluid, which is the lubricating fluid between your joints.
If your diet is lacking in water, even for a brief period, less fluid is available to protect these areas.
As you add more weight and stress to your body, the demands from weight lifting on the joints will increase. Adequate protective fluid is essential for optimum performance and to give longer life to your joints. Believe me, once your joints go, it’s never the same.
How much water do you need?
You need a minimum 8 to 12 cups of water per day and even more to replace the fluid you lose during exercise. Depending on your size and perspiration rate, you lose about four cups of water per hour of exercise.
If you are working out in a mild climate, you are probably losing about 4 to 8 cups of water through perspiration.
If you are working out in a hot climate, you can easily lose a lot more and therefore, dehydrate very quickly. If you don't replenish your fluid loss during exercise, you will tire very quickly and your performance will be poor.
If you don't replenish after exercise, your performance on the following days will suffer.
Best sources of water
The best sources of water must come from clean sources. The easiest way to get water is right from your faucet. But reports of contaminated tap water are of concern to many people, including me.
The water in some areas contains contaminants such as chlorine, pesticides, lead, fluoride, mercury, viruses and other harmful substances.
A good move is to buy a water purifier, which filters lead and other contaminants from tap water. Some filters attach right onto the tap and others can be installed as part of an entire water system.
There are other systems such as reverse osmosis drinking water systems that you may want to investigate for better quality of drinking water. Regardless of what type water you drink for health, be sure to drink 8 to 12 cups or more fluids you need daily to stay well hydrated.
You need to drink water for health at regular intervals regardless if your thirsty or not. Keeping well hydrated is a must if you want to build muscle.
Drinking water for health and building muscle is just too important and the benefits cannot be overstated.
Drink at least two cups of water upon awaking. Your body is in a dehydrated state after a long sleep and needs water. To ensure that you are getting enough fluids throughout the day, drink 8 to 12 cups of water throughout the day.
Drink at least 2 cups of water two to three hours before exercise and 1 cup of water immediately before exercise. In very hot or cold temperatures, you will need even more water, usually 2 cups immediately before exercise.
Drink one cup of water for every 15 minutes of exercise and more in extreme temperatures. Make regular water breaks a part of your training.
Drink 2 to 3 cups of water within two hours after exercise. Continue to drink and additional 30 to 50 percent more fluid for the next 3 to 4 hours.
It is very important that drink water for health and that you keep your body well hydrated. Even a small, temporary shortage of water can impair your body's functions. If your muscles become dehydrated by only a small fraction, you lose a certain amount of contractile strength and speed.
Water balance is a very important aspect for building muscle and the maintenance of good health.
Ever wake up in the middle of the night clutching your calf in pain? Often called a "Charlie Horse," this is just one type of cramp that could be prevented by being more hydrated. (Talk about leading a horse to water....)
Cramps are the involuntary tightening of a muscle that won't relax, occurring most often in the calf and thighs. The cause of muscle cramps is not exactly known, but is thought to be caused by many things such as overuse, injury, staying in one place to long, strain and of course from being dehydrated. Those in hotter climates or in just plain in warmer weather are more likely to get cramps during activity, as there is more fluid loss. Fluid comes into play here because fluid helps muscles contract and relax and also keep muscle cells hydrated. If there is an inadequate water supply, muscles will not work as good as they should, causing strain-- and then the cramps.
Also, those with muscle cramps may want to take a banana with their water. Potassium loss, often due to taking diuretics, can also cause muscle cramps. Potassium is also important for muscle contraction. A small amount of potassium is lost through your sweat, and a larger portion is lost through muscle activity. The diuretics, which also can cause dehydration, rob the body of this much-needed element. Calcium and magnesium also play a role in keep muscles in good shape. It is recommended that during work-outs, people drink water or sports drinks (to replace those electrolytes) at set intervals and also to not gauge the need for water by the thirst mechanism. Children especially are known to be less hydrated when doing something physical, and therefore may cramp easier. Encourage you child, even if they just are active in school gym class, to drink water during the activity.
How can leg cramps be prevented?
How can I make cramps go away?
While drinking water during a cramp spasm will not help the cramp instantly fade away, staying hydrated regularly and especially during and after a work-out will keep those "Charlie Horses" and other cramps riding off into the sunset!
Drink up to slim down, boost brainpower, get rich, and more
Scientifically speaking, water is the basis of life, but beyond being essential to your very existence, water serves all sorts of purposes that help you feel your absolute best. No, it can’t cure cancer (though it may help prevent it), pay your rent (though it does save you money), or take out the trash, but here are six reasons H2O can help solve many annoying day-to-day health issues—and possibly prevent a few big ones—from headaches to those last few pounds.
It Boosts Metabolism
Trying to lose weight? Drinking water can boost your body’s ability to burn fat. A study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism found that drinking water (about 17oz) increases metabolic rate by 30 percent in healthy men and women. The boost occurred within 10 minutes but reached a maximum 30-40 minutes after drinking.
Studies also suggest that drinking one or two glasses of water before a meal can fill you up so you naturally eat less, says Andrea N. Giancoli, MPH, RD spokesperson for The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Plus, even mild dehydration will slow down metabolism by as much as 3 percent.
It Safeguards Your Heart
Speaking of essential for life…drinking a good amount of water could lower your risk of a heart attack. A six-year study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology found that people who drank more than five glasses of water a day were 41 percent less likely to die from a heart attack during the study period than those who drank less than two glasses. Bonus: Drinking all that water may reduce cancer risk as well. Research shows that staying hydrated can reduce risk of colon cancer by 45 percent, bladder cancer by 50 percent, and possibly reduce breast cancer risk too.
It Prevents Headaches
The most debilitating kind as well: Migraines. In one study published in the journal Neurology, scientists recruited migraine sufferers and divided them into two groups: one took a placebo, the others were told to drink 1.5 liters of water (about six cups) in addition to their usual daily intake. At the end of two weeks, the water group had experienced 21 fewer hours of pain than those in the placebo group, as well as a decrease in pain intensity.
It Boosts Brainpower
Your brain needs a lot of oxygen to function at optimum levels, so drinking plenty of water ensures that it’s getting all it needs. In fact, drinking eight to 10 cups of water per day can improve your levels of cognitive performance by as much as 30 percent.
The door swings both ways: Research shows that a dehydration level of just 1 percent of your body weight reduces thinking functions, so staying well-hydrated is super important for your mental performance.
It Makes You Rich
Making water your go-to drink saves a lot of money in the long run. Even though 60 percent of the U.S. population buys bottled water, it’s still cheaper, on average, than juices, sodas, and Starbucks– especially when you buy it by the case. What’s even cheaper: buying a filter and drinking water out of the tap. To put it in perspective, replacing your daily can of soda at lunch with a free-from-the-tap glass of water (or water cooler if you have access to one) can save you about $180 a year.
It Keeps You Alert at Work
Dehydration is the single most common cause of daytime fatigue, so if your afternoon slump is more like a desperate need for an afternoon nap, guzzle a glass of water. It can also make you better at your job, or at least prevent you from being bad at a it—just a two percent dehydration level can trigger short-term memory problems and difficulty focusing on a computer screen or printed page.
Water enhances mental function and is essential to survival
On most mornings, one of the first stops through my waking-up routine is the kitchen cupboard, where I keep my cups and other drinking vessels. Even if I'm not particularly thirsty, as a student of the brain, I'm convinced of the value of drinking enough water. Of all the tricks I've learned for keeping my mind sharp, from getting enough sleep to doing crossword puzzles, staying hydrated may be the one I follow most closely, partly because it's so easy to get a drink whenever I'm thirsty. This is a convenience to be grateful for, not taken for granted.
Our brains depend on proper hydration to function optimally. Brain cells require a delicate balance between water and various elements to operate, and when you lose too much water, that balance is disrupted. Your brain cells lose efficiency.
Years of research have found that when we're parched, we have more difficulty keeping our attention focused. Dehydration can impair short-term memory function and the recall of long-term memory. The ability to perform mental arithmetic, like calculating whether or not you'll be late for work if you hit snooze for another 15 minutes, is compromised when your fluids are low.
Over the course of a typical twenty-four hour period, the longest spell most of us go without fluid intake is the six to eight hours we spend sleeping. Sleeping is hardly the kind of activity that you sweat over, but that doesn't mean you're not losing water during the night. With every somnolent breath, you expel moisture, and the cumulative effect of a night's sleep is to dry out.
It's for this reason that I habitually get a drink soon after I wake up. If you're like me, when you're simply reminded of the negative effects of dehydration, your next thought is to head for the water cooler.
If we want to have our wits about us, we've got to take in fluid. Imagine, as you think about how important water is to your own daily functioning, what life might be like if your access to it was restricted.
Perhaps you usually drink bottled water. Imagine it did not exist. You would get thirsty enough, eventually, to drink from the tap. It's always there, at your disposal. But suppose the nearest tap were 5 miles away. That's not such a long distance, except you don't have a car. And it's hot outside, like 101 F. Now how motivated are you to walk that long way in the sun? What if you've got a thirsty child?
If water is important to you, not because you're parched, but just because you want to function optimally, imagine how much more some humans are forced to endure just to get the minimum daily requirements of water. Living in the developed world is like drinking a nepenthe: it's easy to forget that others are far less fortunate. While your thirst is quenched, almost a billion people on the planet don't have access to clean drinking water. 38,000 children under the age of 5 die each week because they lack uncontaminated water. African women walk over 40 billion hours each year carrying cisterns weighing up to 18 kilograms to gather water, which is usually still not safe to drink.
r enhances mental function and is essential to survival
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 two thirds 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 . Extra H2O helps us eat less by making us feel full, and it may also boost metabolism. CamelBak hydration advisor Kate Geagan, RD 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, the sweatier 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. Geagan 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 .
5. It might protect against some types of cancer.
Research has found that the greater the fluid intake, the lower the incidence of bladder cancer, with more significant results when the fluid is water . One possible reason 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 .
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 .
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 .
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 . 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) . Geagan 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. It energizes us.
Next time you’re feeling zonked, try drinking a couple glasses of water. Feeling tired is one of the first signs of dehydration and filling back up on H2O could zap the sleepiness .
11. 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).
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 .
13. 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 healthy from the inside out. Geagan 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.
14. 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 .
15. 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 . 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) .
16. It takes the edge off of hangovers.
Drinking alcohol causes dehydration, which can lead to hangovers. Having a glass of water with each alcoholic drink you sip is one way to offset the dehydration (and the day-after misery).
17. It helps us think more clearly.
Dehydration causes shrinkage of brain tissue. So when we haven’t been drinking enough water, our brains have to work a lot harder to perform at the same level . One study even found that students who brought water to tests did better on their exams.
18. 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.
19. Gargling keeps you healthier.
A study that followed 400 participants during cold and flu season found that those who gargled water regularly were significantly less likely to contact upper respiratory infections and that when they did, their symptoms weren’t as severe . (Maybe it’s time to supplement that flu shot with funny throat noises!).
20. Eating it hydrates us—deliciously.
Water-rich fruits and vegetables like cucumber, watermelon, and strawberries contain minerals, salts, and natural sugars the body needs for optimum hydration levels, so eating them can sometimes rehydrate us more effectively (and a lot more tastily) than water alone.
21. Working out in it (yes, in it) is good for aerobic fitness.
Deep water running and water aerobics offer cardio workouts without the impact. For cross training that’s no-impact and low-stress, hit the pool. Then there’s aqua spinning, which has been growing in popularity for a reason: It provides a workout as effective as cycling on land, and might even offer increased cardiovascular benefits.
22. Living near it is good for our health.
One study showed that good health is more prevalent the closer one lives to the coast . Whether it’s the proximity to sea air, greenery, or opportunities to soak up sunshine on the beach, spending time near the water makes us healthier.
23. It balances our fluids.
About 60 percent of the human body is made of water, and keeping our fluids balanced means that all that water is doing its job—transporting nutrients, aiding digestion, regulating temperature, and so on.
24. Its sounds are soothing.
Exposure to unpleasant noises (screams, scrapes, electric drills, subway trains, perhaps?) can elevate our pulse and blood pressure and cause stress hormones to be released . In contrast, in one study, participants rated bubbling water as the most pleasing sound they were asked to listen to. The sounds of water flowing has also been found to have therapeutic effects.
25. Swimming around in it works out the body and mind.
Swimming has been found to improve long-term physical and mental health and is a great option for anyone who wants an impact-free cardio workout . Those seeking peace of mind might consider diving in too; spending time in the pool is believed to reduce depression.
26. When frozen, it provides pain and swelling relief for soft tissue injuries.
Ice has been shown to be an effective short-term therapy for sprains and strains. Cold packs reduce blood flow and swelling in the affected area and also treat pain .
27. Spending time in cold water is good for athletes.
Studies show that immersion in cold water is beneficial for sustained athletic performance in the heat, and for treating muscle damage after exercise . On hot days, immersion in cold water can keep body temperatures level and blood flowing.
28. It’s been linked to heart health.
Can drinking water keep us heart healthy? There seems to be a link between risk of death from coronary heart disease and water intake: Research has shown both that consuming more water means a lower risk of death from coronary heart disease and that risk of death rises when intake of “high-energy fluids” (like soda and juice) increases
29. A warm footbath before bed could help you sleep.
One small study found that adults with sleeping problems experienced better sleep and less wakefulness on nights they received a warm water foot bath before going to bed.
30. Waterbeds can help some people with back pain.
Perhaps there’s a therapeutic reason that waterbeds were all the rage in the '70s and ‘80s. Research indicates that waterbed mattresses are associated with improving back pain symptoms and providing a good night’s sleep (though the benefits were small) .
31. It may help relieve congestion.
Stuffy nose got you down? Inhaling steam from a humidifier or pot of boiling water can help clear up congestion. Salt water can also break up all the gunk that makes us stuffy: Stream it from one nostril to the other with a neti pot or try a saline nose spray to loosen things up.
32. Shoveling after a heavy snowfall makes for great cardio.
Okay, so snow’s not exactly water, but it’s definitely similar enough! If you’ve ever spent time shoveling after a snowstorm and felt like you got a darn good workout, it’s because you did. In fact, shoveling snow makes demands on the body similar to a treadmill workout at maximum effort . As long as you’re already in good cardiovascular health, grab a snow shovel the next time heavy snowfall sidetracks your workout plans! (To avoid injury and strain: Warm up first and use proper shoveling technique—snow shoveling is hard work and can cause injury!).
33. Spa therapy could relieve pain and aid relaxation.
If you suffer from chronic pain, a hot-water soak could help. A review of spa therapy (soaking in baths of hot water or mineral water) showed that it has been an effective treatment for pain and rheumatic disorders .
34. Soaking up steam heat is good for the heart.
Relaxing in a sauna could be as healthy as it is calming. In one small study, participants who sat in a sauna for 15 minutes every day for three weeks showed improved heart function and blood pumping capabilities, and were able to exercise more . Researchers concluded that sauna therapy could be an effective complement or alternative treatment for some people with chronic heart failure.
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