If you are a student at UT, you should buy a water bottle.
Buy a large water bottle. Buy two water bottles in case of the likely event that you lose your first water bottle.
Water not only keeps you hydrated, but is also the backbone of many bodily functions, metabolic and otherwise. Water is essential to every cell in your body. There's even strong correlational data between college students who bring some H2O into their exams and students who score very well on said exams.
Whether this is simply a reflection on students who prepare well is up for discussion, but that's not what is important right now. What's important is that you can greatly improve your lifestyle just by drinking water all day.
Start in the morning. Your body continues to use water all night when you're sleeping. Believe it or not, you are still alive when you sleep, and your cells continue to need hydration. Drinking a tall glass upon waking can help shake that groggy feeling that may have kept you from class that day. Drink it before you even shower. Have a hangover that morning? You're dehydrated. See if you can stomach some water.
Even drinking water before you crash after a night out can greatly improve your mental state the morning after. Water and mornings just go well together.
However, don't be fooled into thinking that you're good to go for the day now. You go to UT, and you have mountains to climb today.
You're going to sweat, and you're going to sweat a lot. It took me until my junior year to realize that everyone else is just as sweaty when you sit down in a crowded auditorium of strangers for that first class of the day. Even if it's cold outside, you managed to wear one jacket too many and now you're a nice medium well.
When you sweat, you lose water. Evaporation is an endothermic (heat-using) reaction. Put simply, your body allows for water to evaporate off of you in the form of sweat in an attempt to cool you down. So now you may be asking, "But, Andrew, how can I replace all of that water?" It's easy. You drink it. Drink what feels like too much water. Get one of those cool CamelBak water bottles that makes drinking water fun.
Even mild dehydration can inhibit the flow of oxygen-laden blood to the brain – making concentration difficult – while more intense dehydration can even inhibit some of short-term memory. As we discussed earlier, water is incredibly important in the process of temperature regulation in the body. This is why dehydration and overheating seem to go hand in hand.
Water quite literally helps your body "let off some steam." If there's no steam to let off, your internal temperature can rise to dangerous levels. On top of this, approximately 80 percent of your muscle mass is water. So, whether you're climbing the Hill on your way to class, or lifting weights at the gym, your muscles need water to function properly. Water can help prevent injuries during heavy physical activity by providing some extra cushioning for your joints as well. Additionally, essential vitamins are proliferated throughout the body in water.
Another huge benefit of staying hydrated is appetite control. Drinking a glass of water before a meal can help increase feelings of fullness and prevent overeating. You know those moments when you're not really sure if you're hungry or not? You're probably just thirsty. Drink some water, wait 20 minutes, and see if the feeling passes.
With all of this going for it, on top of kidney stone prevention, dry mouth prevention and a plethora of other benefits, there is honestly no reason to not do your best to stay hydrated. You'll feel better, perform better and your body will thank you for it.
Andrew Fleming is a junior in neuroscience. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.