Contributing Writer Jacob Cottet, ’21
We’ve all heard this phrase at some point in our lives: you need to drink more water. And guess what? I’m here to say it again. You need to drink more water. We often don’t heed this advice, and science says this has a greater effect on our bodies than we might think.
I’m a cross country and track and field athlete who trains year round for competition. My training involves tracking my miles, conditioning, stretching, and a balanced diet, but there is a vital (literally) piece of the puzzle missing — water.
So why should you, a student, reach for a glass of water instead of a soda? Why should you, a working adult, replace your morning coffee with water? And why should you, a retired citizen, worry about drinking water? Well, according to a New York Times article, dehydration causes dry skin, cognitive impairment, a decrease in reaction time, and a decreased ability to sense pain. You may be sitting (or standing) reading this and thinking: I’m not dehydrated. Well, chances are that you will not drink 11-15 cups of water today.
If you have, congratulations, because your body is able to expend less energy maintaining its internal temperature, your brain function improves by 14% , you have an increased sense of drive and motivation, a sharper memory, less anxiety and fatigue, increased ability to concentrate. Additionally, you will have lubricated joints, an improved rate at which your body can transport oxygen, and muscles that perform at a higher level for longer periods.
According to healthcare professionals, you can obtain these benefits by drinking only 11-15 cups of water a day. For an athlete this means you can perform at a higher level and intensity, while simultaneously recovering faster. For students this means not feeling like a zombie in school, and having the motivation to learn in every class. For adults, this means not zoning out in the company meeting, and not drowning in coffee (studies show that water is better at waking you up than coffee). And for seniors, this means a significantly lower risk of stroke, diabetes, and many cancers.
How much you should drink daily, however, is determined by several factors, including BMI, amount of exercise, gender, environment, and health. Doctors recommend 11 cups for women, and 15 cups for men.
What’s more, there’s even an environmental incentive. Food (and drink) production accounts for 20 to 30% of our world’s greenhouse gas emissions. A study published in 2010 revealed that if we stop drinking soft drinks and start drinking water, we can reduce greenhouse gas emissions by roughly 15%.
So what are you waiting for? Go and grab a glass of water!
- Zelman, Kathleen M. “Why Drink More Water? See 6 Health Benefits of Water.”
- Leech, Joe. “7 Science-Based Health Benefits Of Drinking Enough Water.”
- “Less Meat and More Tap Water Benefits Health and the Environment.” World Food Regulation Review, vol. 27, no. 10, 2018, pp. 15-16. ProQuest
- Brody, Jane E. “Drink Up! Most of Us Could Benefit From More Water.”
- Nacamulli, Mia. What Would Happen If You Didn’t Drink Water?