Eight glasses a day keeps the doctor away


By Courtney Boyer

Self-care is one of the most important aspects of college, however, it is often an aspect that gets overlooked.

When students leave home for the first time, it is likely the first time that they have to monitor their health on their own. For some people, eating healthy, drinking enough water and sleeping enough is no problem. For others, such as myself, admittedly, this proves to be a little more difficult.

I had to learn this lesson the hard way. A week ago I had a serious case of kidney stones that were formed over time because I did not drink enough water to flush my kidneys effectively. The pain was severe, and I would not want other people — especially other college students — to fall prey to a medical issue that’s so easy to avoid.

Drinking water is something that a lot of people think is obvious, but it’s surprising how many people aren’t drinking enough. Even though the same can be said for maintaining a healthy diet or sleep schedule, drinking enough water can benefit your health in ways a lot of people might not realize.

Ever since I got kidney stones, I have been very self-aware about drinking eight glasses of water a day, and I swear it makes a serious difference in my day-to-day life — as well as keeping future kidney stones at bay. I take fewer naps than I used to, I don’t feel tired mid-day, I feel more focused and productive and I don’t crave caffeine just to get through the day.

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Researchers have reported in the American Journal of Public Health that more than half of the several thousand students, studied between 2009 and 2012, were at least a bit dehydrated. This is not a surprising statistic; students are so busy and immersed in other things that it is sometimes hard to know you are dehydrated or keep track of your water intake. Many college students I know do not seem to include a lot of water in their daily diets; instead they grab the coffee or the soda option over water to give them a little boost — but these drinks could actually be contributing to dehydration.

It doesn’t stop at students either, according to Sheila Tucker, who has a MA, RD, and LDN in dietetics: Two-thirds of Americans in general are dehydrated almost all the time. These habits begin in college, because college students are learning to take care of themselves for the first time, so adopting healthy drinking habits at this age is crucial.

Doctors suggest that people, especially young people, drink at least eight glasses of water a day. This may seem a bit ridiculous — it did to me — however the health benefits of drinking this much water a day are so abundant that they cannot be ignored.

Water is essential in flushing toxins out of vital organs and transporting nutrients throughout your body. Constant dehydration can cause some serious health problems such as kidney stones, kidney infections, anxiety, insomnia and even depression. Lack of water could actually be the reason why a lot of college students feel tired and run down all of the time, but drinking the recommended eight glasses a day could put a little more pep in their step and boost their immune system. This means getting sick less and being less prone to putting on the weight that seems inevitable in college. It is also interesting to note that drinking enough water can be a mood enhancer, which is important as many students are prone to experiencing bouts of loneliness and anxiety.

Humans need water to survive, so the fact that a lot of young people aren’t drinking enough water for their bodies to thrive is alarming. College students face a lot of health problems, especially living on campus and in such close quarters, but many of these issues — such as the kidney stones I experienced — can easily be avoided by drinking enough water.

So next time you want to grab a coffee or want to drink a soda with your meal, substitute it for water and start living a hydrated life.

Courtney is a sophomore in LAS.

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