I posted a Link to Health last week that I titled "The Best Weight Loss Drink." It was an article about research from Vanderbilt University showing the physiological effects that a certain drink could have, particularly on blood pressure, alertness, and energy expenditure. The article was discussing that one drink that doctors are constantly telling us we need more of and exercises tends to leave us with less of...water.
I was going to just let the article speak for itself, but I think it is really important to focus in on the necessity of water in your health and fitness journey because it is a major contributing factor toward success (also, I have the slight nagging feeling that not everyone clicks on the Links to Health...so water gets a post all it's own).
You can stop rolling your eyes now. Aside from the aforementioned physiological benefits, drinking water contributes to successful weight loss. I'm speaking from experience here kids. I did a Health and Fitness challenge at the beginning of this year called 10 in '10. The premise was setting healthy lifestyle goals for the first 10 weeks of 2010. One of my "goals" was to completely eliminate soda from my diet. Basically, it was a way for me to avoid using the term “resolutions”, because I was technically only committing myself to 10 weeks…rather than an entire year. Wouldn't you know it though...doing something for 10 weeks goes long past the "28 days necessary to make a habit" and the soda thing stuck. It's now August and I am still soda free in 2010.
With the soda goal, I also decided to significantly cut back on drinks with calories. I'd rather have my calories elsewhere...you know…somewhere important like Sweetarts and Lemonheads. So with that, I decided to mainly switch to water. I know. I know. You are probably thinking...water is boring and rarely goes well with (pizza/steak/pancakes/enter your chosen food to gripe about here). You also might be thinking about all the extra..ahem..breaks you will need to take when you up your water consumption. The fact is though...you get used to it. Your body gets used to it. The "breaks" decrease significantly. Water becomes what you like to drink with your meals and you feel good doing it. The health and weight loss benefits become a quick and easy bonus. Plus, you can always add a slice of lemon or lime (or even try flavored water or Crystal Light) if you really need some flavor with your drink.
Most people realize that drinking water will help your body to flush out stored water (thereby decreasing the water stored in various body parts). Some people might also realize that drinking water helps liver and kidney function. When the kidneys are deprived of water, your liver has to switch into overdrive to compensate. This lowers the livers productivity (i.e. the liver can't work as hard to convert stored fat to energy --metabolism--) because it has to work twice as hard. What you may not realize though, is the effect water can have on your muscle tone. Workouts become much more efficient when muscles are hydrated, because they tend to contract more easily. This is my favorite benefit of drinking water. But remember to increase your intake of water when exercising.
Links to Health:
BYU Study Finds Sibling Relationships Positively Effect Mental Health