If you’re reading this: Drink a glass of water. You likely need it, as 75 percent of Americans are described as “chronically dehydrated.” While achieving a state of hydration might seem enviable and impossible, fret not because it’s doable. And the health benefits are not only encouraging, but they are also downright inspiring in the immediate short term, but especially in the long run. “Long-term hydration is the single best thing we can do to prevent chronic illness,” says Dr. Dana Cohen, an integrative medicine specialist in New York and coauthor of Quench: Beat Fatigue, Drop Weight, and Heal Your Body Through the New Science of Optimum Hydration.
Though the eight-cup rule is popular, there is no one-size-fits-all number. Instead, it’s more of an individual approach. The new general rule of thumb is half your weight in ounces, according to Dr. Cohen. For example, if you weigh 120 pounds, you need to drink 60 ounces of water a day.
Without further ado, here are the glorious things that happen when you drink the ideal amount of water.
After One Day
Inadequate hydration can cause extreme fatigue, poor memory, dizziness, constipation, and even mood shifts. But the great news is that water can have immediate benefits, even within 10 minutes or less. “That charge increases the cells’ functional efficiency, leading to better energy, clearer thinking, and less brain fog,” says Dr. Cohen. In addition, you can also feel an improvement in muscle cramps and headache relief.
After One Week
Within seven days of being properly hydrated, you’ll have fewer aches and pains and bowel movements will become more regulated and frequent.
Also, your skin clarity will improve. “A body that has been suboptimally hydrated will, over time, shunt water toward essential organs like your heart and away from nonessential tissue like your skin and muscles,” says Dr. Charles Passler, a celebrity nutritionist and founder of Pure Change Detox. “This can lead to wrinkled or drooping skin, as well as reduced muscle strength.”
After One Month
One month into drinking your daily recommended ounces of water, and you’ll be hitting your stride. You can expect clearer, less bloated skin, plus continuous benefits in mental clarity, muscle strength, and stamina, says Dr. Passler.
After Six Months
“Having our cells properly hydrated creates homeostasis in the body and flushes out toxins,” says Dr. Passler. Beyond just looking and feeling great, proper hydration is necessary for the proper functioning of every single organ and tissue in your body. “The long-term benefits of avoiding dehydration play an important role in reducing the risk of diseases and disorders, like urinary tract infections, hypertension, coronary heart disease, glaucoma, and gallstone disease,” says Dr. Passler.
Race you to the faucet?
Kristin Limoges is the Wellness Editor at Domino.