Water is an absolutely essential part of the human body. If you were to take all the water out of your body, you’d shrink to only about a third of your current size. You’d be a human raisin! And you’d look really, really gross. Let’s not dwell on THAT too much!
The water in your body does so much more than to keep you in a normal human shape, like the water in a grape keeps it round and grape-shaped. Every functional system in the body needs water to operate at its peak. When the body gets dehydrated, all systems can suffer.
Here’s a quick run-down of some of the major body systems and how water effects them:
Brain and nervous system—The brain is cushioned by cerebral spinal fluid, which is mostly, you guessed it, water. Having enough of that fluid literally saves your life! Water is also essential in the formation of neurotransmitters that carry messages along your spinal column and nerves to execute functions in the rest of the body.
Blood and heart—Your blood is also a liquid that is mostly water. If it gets too thick, the heart has to work harder to pump it through your body. The heart muscle is also mostly comprised of water, as are all muscles in your body.
Skeletal system—‘Dem bones, ‘dem bones are connected to one another by joints that are lubricated by synovial fluid. Dehydration can reduce this fluid and make the joints stiffer and less ready to move. This becomes even more important as we age. Even the bones themselves have moisture in them!
Digestion and elimination—Everything you eat is either used up or passed through your body. Adequate water can help both the breakdown and absorption of food and nutrients by the digestive system and the elimination of what’s left over. Without getting too detailed about it, your body can give you clues to your hydration level. This can, of course, be affected by what you are eating, your current health, medications, etc. Ask your doc if you’ve got questions.
Respiration—The lungs like air to be moist. That’s why the nose, mouth, and throat are all lined with mucous membranes that warm and humidify the air before it gets into the lungs. If those membranes aren’t adequately hydrated, the air going into your lungs will be too dry, and that can lead to discomfort and even illness. Naturally, this is of great importance to singers who need their respiratory systems working very well!
There are myriad other ways I can talk about how water can make your body happier. For more information, check out this link. Just like a grape, you want your body to be fully hydrated. No raisins here! What can you do to increase your water intake this week? Share some of your ideas in the comments. Drink up!