Health Benefits of Water Intake During Injury Recovery
We have all been told a million times that water is good for us. But did you ever stop to consider what could go wrong if you don’t have enough in your system? It makes sense then, that if we need water on a daily basis, water must be an important element if we are trying to heal from an injury.
Water makes up 60-70 percent of our total body weight and proper hydration is essential for everything from boosting your brain power; improving your skin; to assisting in your body’s defense when injured. For this reason, I have often told my clients, “We want our muscles to feel like filet mignon – not beef jerky that is all dried out and stiff.”
There are three stages of tissue repair following injury. In each stage, water is a primary catalyst to help move from one stage to the other.
Stage 1: Inflammation
When tissues are injured, they are deprived of their normal flow of oxygen and nutrient-rich blood. This reduction of oxygen and nutrients leads to cell death. The body sends fluids to the area to clear out the dead cells to allow for new cell growth. Without the proper hydration levels, this change of fluids cannot happen.
Stage 2: Proliferation
Once the inflammation begins to subside, the dead cells have been removed and new vasculature will start to develop. The restoration of oxygen and nutrient flow to the damaged area allows for scar tissue to lie down. Without proper hydration levels, the oxygen and nutrient content needed to allow for normal scar tissue will not be available to your body.
Stage 3: Remodeling
Eventually, scar tissue will change over to collagen and start to arrange the tissue in an organized pattern to become part of the surrounding soft tissue fibers Again, proper hydration levels are essential to the proper collagen levels and the ability for the collagen to become flexible as opposed to stiff and restricted.
All three components of tissue healing require water as a vessel to supply the needed component to achieve the goals of healing. Water is our body’s partner in helping to achieve the crucial stages to allow for healing.
How much water do you need?
This has been debated by many people. Most of the debate is due to the fact that a person’s required quantity of water can fluctuate greatly based on many other factors such as diet, exercise, temperature, fatigue levels and general health issues. Because the proper amount of water in our system helps regulate our removal of waste, a general rule of thumb is that if your urine is clear and odorless, you are taking in the appropriate amount. If your urine is yellow, dark or has an odor, you are most likely dehydrated.
5 Tips to Help You Drink More
If you think you need to be drinking more, here are some tips to increase your fluid intake and reap the benefits of water:
- Have a beverage with every snack and meal.
- Choose beverages you enjoy. You’re likely to drink more liquids if you like the way they taste.
- Eat more fruits and vegetables. Their high water content will add to your hydration. About 20 percent of our fluid intake comes from foods.
- Keep a bottle of water with you in your car, at your desk or in your bag.
- Choose beverages that meet your individual needs. If you’re watching calories, go for non-caloric beverages or just simple water.
For more information on the benefits of water, feel free to contact one of our therapists at Franklin Rehabilitation.