Meet Me at the Water Cooler: The Importance of Hydrating at Work

gathering around work water cooler

While the water cooler is best known as a place for casual conversation, or even a breeding ground for gripes and gossip, many forget its primary purpose — to keep you hydrated! We all know we’re supposed to consume water throughout the day, but how many of us put this into practice? Whether it’s speeding out of the house to beat rush-hour traffic or putting out fires all day at the office, taking a swig of water is the last thing on our minds. But, countless of studies have proven that maintaining proper hydration is key to performing your best and being your best. Need some convincing to increase your water intake? Let’s face the facts.

It Does a Body Good

The human body is roughly 60% water. Water regulates your body’s temperature and protects vital organs. Water aids digestion and helps your body absorb nutrients. Water removes waste and regulates bowel movements. Water also transports nutrients and oxygen to all cells in the body. Without water, your organs can’t function properly.

It Clears the Complexion

Skin is the biggest organ in the human body and the body’s main protection from the outside environment, so it’s important you take care of it. Drinking ample amounts of water helps the skin maintain optimum levels of moisture, which then contributes to the skin’s elasticity, resiliency, and plumpness — all of which are factors in making skin look more youthful. Many myths claim you should drink so many ounces or servings of water a day but Elizabeth Tanzi, founderĀ and director of Capital Laser & Skin Care in Washington, DC, recommends just drinking fluids continuously throughout the day. She adds, “If you ever get to the point of feeling really thirsty, that’s an indication of dehydration.”

It Cuts the Calories

A study funded by the Institute for Public Health and Water Research found that dieters drinking water right before each meal ate fewer calories overall during the day. Additionally, over a course of 12 weeks, those same dieters lost almost 5 pounds more than those dieters who did not increase their water intake at all. Brenda Davy, PhD, senior author of the study continued that, “water may be so effective, simply because it fills up the stomach with a substance that has zero calories. People feel fuller as a result, and eat less calorie-containing food during the meal.”

It Boosts Productivity

Feeling parched? Then, drink up! Even mild levels of dehydration negatively impact cognitive function altering concentration, memory, and attention. In a 2012 study published in Journal of the American College of Nutrition, “mild dehydration can interfere with adequate performance of work-related activities that require the use of specific mental skills. Adequate hydration is an important factor in the prevention of accidents at work, and it enhances performance in both physical and mental tasks.” Dehydration can also worsen your mood and increase fatigue; no one wants to work with a grump.

Get Ahead of the Game

Move over deadlines — make hydration your first priority at work! Pay attention to your thirst signals and always keep a bottle of water at arm’s reach. Not sure how much water to drink? Use a hydration calculator or download an app to track your daily intake like Waterlogged. Keeping hydrated not only helps you feel refreshed, but it helps clear your mind to prepare for the bigger tasks at hand. So, the next time Bob from Accounting rolls his eyes after seeing you chatting away at the water cooler again, you can tell him to go chug on some water to lighten up because you’re just trying to maximize your performance.

Written by Joyce Alimusa