Optimal wellness begins with understanding the importance of the body’s most essential nutrient, water, which makes up approximately 70% of the human brain, 85% of human blood and 70% of human muscle. Studies show that an estimated 75% of all Americans are dehydrated; long days of riding, training and other activity increase the need for hydration even more. Consistent hydration boosts energy and stamina, protects the body from injury improves appearance and more!
Ideally, an individual will consume, at a minimum, half of their body weight in ounces of water per day. For example, someone who weighs 150 lbs should consume approximately 75oz. of water per day. When activity is increased, as it is with riding, exercise or even heavy lifting, the body’s demand for water is increased as well. Here, 7 reasons why hydration is central to both performance and vitality.
1. Water is the main transporter for both oxygen and vital nutrients.
While the food that we eat provides us with the nutrients that the body needs for survival, the body is unable to transport these vitamins and minerals to the body’s cells to be used. Examples of these nutrients include Vitamin C, which is responsible for immunity and B vitamins which are responsible for providing the body with energy.
2. Water promotes optimal mental function.
Water makes up 70% of the brain’s total composition, and is integral in helping the neurotransmitters of the brain send signals, such as allowing the body to understand that it is in pain or that we are hungry.
3. Water aids in digestion
Just as we are unable to use nutrients if we cannot transport them to cells, the body cannot obtain nutrients from our food without proper digestion. Through the digestive process, we break down proteins into amino acids to build muscle; additionally, we break down fruits, vegetables and nuts to provide the body with nutrients such as magnesium for muscle relaxation, calcium for bone strength and zinc for healing.
4. Water helps eliminate toxins from the body
We are exposed to thousands of toxins, every day from the food we eat, to the air we breathe. The buildup of these toxins can lead to weakened digestive function, muscle aches/ tightness, allergies and more. Staying properly hydrated allows the body to complete its natural detoxification process on a regular basis.
5. Water serves as a lubricant for the spinal cord and joints.
Spine and joint health are especially important through long days of jumping and hurdling. Stay hydrated to prevent injury this riding season!
6. Water hydrates the skin
While we do have the sun to thank for that healthy summer glow, we can’t forget to thank ourselves for staying hydrated! Water nourishes our skin, the largest organ in the body, which is also responsible for synthesizing vitamin D, a powerful mood enhancer and autoimmune suppressor!
7. Water helps maintain body temperature
The maintenance of body temperature is crucial in signaling to the body when to sweat and when to produce more heat; both serve as a survival mechanism as we increase and decrease activity.
Let’s look as some simple ways to make drinking water an enjoyable habit for life.
1. Spice it up! A few ideas to make your water refreshing and enjoyable:
• Blackberries and sage leaves
• Watermelon and cucumber
• Pineapple and mint leaves
• Keep it simple with lemon or lime!
2. Use a tracker, such as Waterlogged or WaterMinder, to keep track of those daily sips!
3. Start and end each day with a glass of water. Don’t be afraid to place notes around the house until you start to remember — developing healthy habits takes time.
4. Increase your intake by 8oz. each week until you meet your goal. Starting slow will allow your body to adjust to the intake and will increase your overall absorption.
5. Invest in a fun glass water bottle. Studies show that using glass versus plastic reduces toxic exposure, providing a double benefit for your investment.
Keep that healthy summer glow and ride injury free this summer by drinking enough water daily!