Better Hydration for Better Joints
Medical experts regularly laud drinking plenty of water for the many benefits it has in store for physical health. But what about joint health, specifically? Taking in plenty of water throughout the day offers several benefits for maintaining strong joint health and reducing joint pain. Here is what you need to know about staying hydrated and how it can contribute to better joint health.
Benefits of Drinking Water for Joints
Your joints will work better.
More water in the body means more water that can support strong joint health. Joint-protecting synovial fluid, for example, contains water, and therefore more water means more fluid that can protect your joints. Water can also help to maintain adequate blood volume, which is important for carrying nutrients to your joints and moving waste products out of the joints.
You’ll have less joint pain.
Drinking more water keeps the cartilage in your joints softer and more hydrated. Some supplements such as glucosamine that are made to reduce joint pain actually help to relieve pain in this way—by boosting water absorption levels in the cartilage in your joints. When the cartilage in your joints is dehydrated, it loses its smooth and low-friction qualities, making it more susceptible to damage. Because of this, dehydrated joints can also cause a person’s joints to stiffen up and feel achy.
Tips for Staying Hydrated
Be mindful of how much water your body needs.
It’s important to take note of how much water you should be taking in per day depending on your weight, physical activity levels, and other special physical needs. Opinions differ on just how much water is enough. Some recommend drinking eight 8-ounce glasses of water per day, which comes out to be half a gallon. This is a popular recommendation because it is so easy to remember. Others recommend tailoring it more to your body weight, with one simple calculation being to drink half of your weight in ounces of water per day. So a 120-pound person, for example, would strive to drink 60 ounces of water per day. The recommended water intake amount increases, of course, when a person engages in rigorous physical activity. Drinking two to three extra 8-ounce glasses of water after an intense workout will help to restore hydration levels in your body lost to sweat.
Eat water-rich foods.
Don’t forget about the hydrating benefits that water-rich foods can provide. Be sure to eat foods that are rich in water as well, such as watermelon, cucumber, tomatoes, lettuce, and celery. Other fluids can contribute to proper hydration levels as well, such as milk, tea, and smoothies.
Find what works for you.
Everyone has their own approach to making sure they get enough water intake throughout the day. Some, for example, carry around a large water bottle and mark it with water amounts they will need to have taken in by particular times of the day. Others flavor their water with fresh fruits to make it more enticing, or treat water like an appetizer by drinking a large glass before every meal. Try out different techniques and find what works for you.