Drinking enough water is vital to staying fit and healthy. Many people believe drinking hot water not only keeps you hydrated, it can also aid digestion, relieve congestion and even prevent premature aging.
Here’s our guide to the benefits of drinking hot water, complete with 7 reasons why you should be making it part of your daily routine.
Should you drink hot or cold water when exercising?
When you’re working up a sweat, you have to make sure you’re putting plenty of fluid back in to your body to keep it in optimum condition. While it’s best to top up with room temperature water while you’re working out, hot water between 120°F and 140°F can give your metabolism a boost as your internal temperature control systems are activated to compensate for the higher temperature of the water.
It’s best to drink hot water 20 to 30 minutes before you hit the gym, as drinking hot water while you’re exercising can actually make you feel less thirsty, meaning you won’t drink enough to replace the fluids you’re losing.
7 benefits of drinking hot water
There are a number of benefits to drinking hot water…
1. Aids digestion
Staying hydrated is essential to keeping your digestive system working at its best. Making sure you’re drinking plenty of water throughout the day – between 9 and 12 eight-ounce servings – keeps everything moving.
Drinking hot water has the added benefit of activating and soothing your digestive system, and can help dissolve and dislodge food that may become stuck. Try drinking a cup of hot water first thing in the morning to kick-start your digestive system and last thing at night to soothe your intestines at the end of the day.
2. Keeps bowel movements regular
However healthy your diet is and however much water you drink, we all have days when our bowels are a little sluggish. If you’re suffering with constipation, drinking plenty of water is key to getting things moving – and hot water drinks can really help.
Hot water widens blood vessels, which increases the blood flow to your bowels and digestive system, helping move food through your system. Drinking hot water is great for preventing constipation too – try a cup first thing in the morning to stimulate digestion. It’ll also help relieve bloating, getting rid of any stubborn retained water around your middle.
3. Provides natural pain relief
Drinking cold water causes blood vessels to contract, which can actually increase discomfort, especially when you’re suffering with joint pains or menstrual cramps. One of the benefits of drinking hot water is it opens up blood vessels, helping the body to relax and reducing the amount of pain you might be feeling.
Drinking hot water has a similar effect to climbing into a warm bath – everything relaxes and tension is relieved as veins and arteries expand, helping blood to flow easier. When your muscles are relaxed, blood flow is improved, which can have a range of benefits for your overall health.
If you’re still feeling the stress of the day before bed, try a cup of hot water to relax you and help you fall asleep. A good night’s sleep is essential, especially if you’re suffering from an injury, illness or muscle pain after a serious workout.
4. Eases nasal congestion
When your nose is blocked, there’s nothing more soothing than a steaming hot drink. Not only does staying hydrated help you feel better when you’re constantly coughing and blowing your nose, drinking hot water is believed to help mucus travel faster, dissolving it quicker and getting it out of your body sooner.
Add a squeeze of lemon to your hot water for an extra hit of vitamin C and inhale the steam as you drink to temporarily relieve the pressure on your sinuses, making you feel better and getting you back into the gym faster.
5. Clears toxins
Drinking hot water clears toxins from your body in two ways. First, it raises your internal temperature, causing you to sweat and flush out toxins through the skin. Plus, one of the benefits of drinking hot water in the morning is that it flushes toxins from your digestive system, helping your body work more effectively for the rest of the day.
It can also help to speed up cell repair so you can recover from illness or muscle damage more quickly. For maximum effect and a little extra flavor, add a squeeze of fresh lemon to your morning drink.
6. Could prevent premature aging
Toxins are one of the biggest causes of premature aging, so it’s essential to flush them out if you want your skin to stay hydrated, keep its elasticity and avoid lines and wrinkles.
Drinking hot water first thing in the morning and last thing at night is great for flushing out toxins and helping your digestive system work properly. It helps to ensure your body is absorbing all the good stuff and flushing out all the things that make you look old before your time.
Hot water is also great for keeping your hair looking great as you get older. Drinking hot water energizes the nerve endings in your hair roots and keeps hair looking healthy and shiny.
7. Keeps you hydrated
Drinking enough water throughout the day can be tough, and water straight from the faucet can become a little dull after several glasses. Adding hot water to your daily routine adds variety making sure you reap the health benefits of drinking hot water, especially if you add a squeeze of lemon, lime or organic green tea for an added antioxidant boost.
Water that’s closer to your body’s internal temperature is also thought to hydrate you faster, as your body doesn’t need to warm it up before it puts it to work. So, while any kind of water is good for promoting overall health, drinking hot water hydrates you while giving you some extra benefits too.
Should I start drinking hot water to improve my health?
While drinking hot water isn’t a universal cure-all, it’s an easy habit to build into your day that could help you look and feel better in the long term. Having it instead of coffee or tea can help reduce your caffeine intake and provide an alternative to sugary sodas that will pile on the pounds.
Plus, a couple of cups before your workout could help you burn even more calories. There are no real risks to drinking hot water, as long as your drink isn’t so hot you scold yourself, and it can aid better digestion, relieve bloating and aid relaxation – something we all need a little help with in our busy lives.