Health and Fitness

Five Myths About Drinking Water

Everybody knows your body needs water to survive! You may have heard some of these common sayings about drinking water, but how many of them are actually based on fact? Here are five myths about drinking water:

1. Drinking More Water Makes Your Skin Moist and Youthful-Looking

If you get severely dehydrated, your body starts pulling water from your tissues, including your skin. This can make your skin dryer and less elastic, so it starts to look older. However, if you are not severely dehydrated, drinking water is not going to have that much of an effect on the way your skin looks. Your body is already 60% water. Adding a few more glasses each day is unlikely to cause a huge difference in the overall appearance of your skin.

2. Everyone Should Drink 8 Glasses of Water Every Day

myths about drinking water - water glass

It’s important to get enough fluids every day, but water isn’t the only one that counts! According to the Mayo Clinic, the adequate amount of fluid consumption for men is about 13 cups (3 liters) a day, and for women, about 9 cups (2.2 liters) each day. Eight cups comes out to about 1.9 liters, which is a good chunk of your daily recommended fluids. While water is a great zero-calorie option, any fluids that you drink can count toward your daily total. The “eight 8-ounce glasses a day” adage is more of an arbitrary rule of thumb rather than a scientific fact.

3. It’s Easy to Get Dehydrated While Working Out

If you’re running a marathon, biking, or hiking all day, you may be at risk for dehydration if you don’t bring enough water with you And if you’re exercising outside in a hot, dry climate, you should definitely be aware of the signs of dehydration. However, for a typical gym workout, you’re not going to be in danger of dehydration until you lose 2% of your body weight in water. For a 200-pound man, that’s four pounds of water. This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t drink water while working out, just don’t stress too much about getting dehydrated. Drink when you’re thirsty, and you should be fine.

4. If You’re Thirsty, You’re Already Dehydrated

myths about drinking water - thirsty man

If you’re thirsty, you should definitely grab a drink, but it doesn’t necessarily mean you’re already dehydrated. Lots of factors can trigger thirst, like an extra sweet or salty meal, but you’re not truly dehydrated until you’ve lost that 2% of your body weight in water. Listen to your body and drink when you’re thirsty, but don’t take being thirsty as a sign that it’s already too late.

5. You need Sports Drinks, Not Water, to Function at a High Level in Athletics

Marathon runners or professional athletes may benefit from the extra vitamins and electrolytes in sports drinks due to heavy sweating over long periods of time. But for your average daily exercise routine, plain water will do the job. Fluids that contain sugar are actually less readily absorbed into the blood stream than plain water, making sugary sports drinks a less-than-optimal choice for hydration during workouts.
Drinking plenty of water is important to overall physical health, but not always for the reasons that you would think. I recommend keeping a water bottle with you throughout the day so that it’s easy to grab a drink any time you’re thirsty, but don’t forget that a cup of tea or a tasty smoothie can also count toward your total daily liquids. With that, good luck staying hydrated, and don’t forget to share your thoughts in the comments!

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