Are you drinking enough water? Studies show that the answer is probably no. Some 75 percent of Americans are dehydrated and drink below the recommended amount, which is an average of eight 8-ounce glasses of water each day.
If you feel fatigued or tired, or if you suffer from headaches, you might think that you need food. However, it is most likely water you need instead. Remember, if you’re thirsty, your body is saying that you’re dehydrated.
Water benefits the entire body, especially your brain and energy level. It protects and hydrates organs, transports nutrients to cells, and helps you stay energized and mentally healthy. Staying hydrated will also help your kidneys and liver function, and ensure that you get the right amount of nutrients. In addition, proper hydration is great for the general health of your hair, skin, and immune system. It’s one of the simplest, most straightforward treatments for many common ailments.
If you’re not careful, chronic dehydration can lead to complications such as fatigue, headaches, ulcers, high blood pressure, and joint pain. Dehydration is one of the most common causes of countless health issues, but most people don’t associate dehydration with joint pain and stiffness. As you age, however, your joints begin to break down and it becomes more difficult to keep them hydrated.
Your joints are like sponges: the more water you drink, the better your joints move. Water helps you maintain an adequate blood volume so that nutrients can move through your blood and into your joints. Water also balances the level of electrolytes, such as sodium and potassium, to keep your muscles functioning properly. Since your body is 60 percent water, staying hydrated is the key to helping your muscles and joints work more efficiently.
Here are some tips to help you fight dehydration:
1. Carry a Water Bottle
Carrying a refillable bottle is a great way to make sure that water is always accessible. If you dislike the taste of water (or lack thereof), try adding a slice of lemon or cucumber.
2. Check Your Urine
The easiest thing to do is to pay attention to the color of your urine. Pale and clear is the goal. If it’s dark, drink more water.
3. Eat Fruit
Many fruits are a great source of both electrolytes and fluids, so eat some throughout the day or add some to your water to spice it up a little.
4. Drink Sports Drinks
Studies show that sports drinks, such as Powerade and Gatorade, replenish your electrolytes, which plain water does not. Coconut water is another option for electrolytes (and healthier, too).
If you’re living with joint pain, it may be time to take a closer look at your symptoms and explore treatment options. Call Orthopaedic Associates of Central Maryland at (410) 644-1880 to request an appointment with one of our joint specialists.