Water and wellbeing – everything you need to know about the power of proper hydration

In 2023, Buxton is proud to partner with Mind to support the sweat and tears of 15 Rise Up Runners. 15 real people, each facing their own physical and mental struggles, who are bravely taking on the ultimate test of resilience; The London Marathon. Their road to the race will be part of Buxton and Mind’s wider mission to promote better physical and mental wellbeing across the nation, through exercise and hydration.

We are mostly water. The muscles that move us, the blood that pumps through us and the brain that makes us who we are – all of them are nourished by the water that is constantly flowing through and around us.

So it might seem obvious that water is key to ensuring our bodies and our brains work as they should. But what might not be so clear is just how powerful that is, and how vital it is to ensure that your body and brain are hydrated.

That is because water underpins many of the functions of our mind and body. It ensures that the cognitive and physical functions that make us what we are keep going as they should.

Without maintaining our water intake, those processes can become impaired. That happens in physical ways but mental ones, too: research has shown that without proper hydration, various important functions can be reduced.

Even missing that regular water intake in a small way can have fast and significant effects on our wellbeing. Losing between 1 and 2 per cent of our body water can start to impair important functions within our brain and body, for instance, which can happen quickly – especially when it is warm, if we are exercising, or both.

Without proper hydration, for instance, we might begin to feel fatigued. While water doesn’t give you energy in itself, it is vital to the processes that keep you energised.

Similar processes happen in our mind – which, of course, depends on water for many of the same reasons. Multiple studies have shown that water is key to ensuring the processes that keep our brain ticking over are reliant on water, and may not work as they should without it.

Staying hydrated will ensure your mood stays more regular, for instance, with studies showing that people’s sense of wellbeing dropped when they were not properly hydrated.

Water also makes sure the various mental processes we rely on are functioning properly; that our concentration, attention and memory keeps going as it should.

This is all particularly true for young children and adolescents, whose wellbeing is more easily impaired if they are not hydrating properly. What’s more, they may also be less likely to ensure they are getting enough water by themselves.

All of those effects can, fittingly, run together, too. Avoiding fatigue can make it easier to stay active, which in turn can help cope with difficult times and keep your mood up. Feeling more energised can lead to incorporating more movement into your daily life, and both brain and body will benefit.

What exactly proper hydration means will vary between people – and can even depend on factors such as the weather and how active they are. But a good starting point is to keep a full water bottles nearby andmake sure you are looking to replace the liquids that you are sweating away.

Getting those liquids back in the body is key to just about everything we do; just as the body is made up mostly of water, almost all of the things we do with it each day depend on it. Thankfully, those vital processes can be maintained, making a commitment to proper hydration one of the best and most important things you can do for yourself.

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