Drinking water is one of the best things you can do for yourself. Your body is made up of 60% water and many of its important functions are facilitated by fluids, including digestion, circulation, muscle growth, skin health, kidney health, and more. To keep your body functioning at a high level, you need to make sure you’re drinking enough water. While eight glasses a day might not seem doable, it’s a good ballpark to shoot for.
Regular water is good for keeping you hydrated, but alkaline water is the best water for you for a variety of reasons, which we’ll go into more depth on below.
What is alkaline (ionized) water?
Before we go into the benefits of alkaline water, we should define what alkaline water is. To do this, we need to have some sort of understanding of pH. In liquids, pH is used to measure potential hydrogen, and has a scale of 0 to 14, basically it is a measure of a liquids acidity. Regular water has a pH of 7 and is considered neutral. Anything with a pH below 7 is considered acidic, and anything above 7 is considered basic or alkaline.
Liquids that have higher concentrations of hydrogen ions are acidic, and liquids with lower concentrations of hydrogen ions are basic. Hydrogen ions are the separated nuclei, or centers, of hydrogen atoms, made up of single, positively charged particle called a proton. Substances and compounds with free electrons can be used to neutralize hydrogen ions, making liquids less acidic and more alkaline. This process happens naturally in places with mineral water springs, and can be done at home by using a water ionizer or simply adding substances and compounds like salt or lemon juice to alkalize your water.
What are the benefits of alkaline water?
Your body has a naturally alkaline pH, around 7.4, but that pH is constantly being changed by the foods you eat, the liquids you drink, and can even be affected by any illnesses you might have.
When it comes to properties that directly help dancers, alkaline water reduces your blood viscosity – helping your blood to flow more efficiently and increasing oxygen delivery throughout the body. This is especially helpful when it comes to muscle endurance and recovery during and after a workout. If you have increased oxygen delivery, you’re more likely to recover quickly, and you’re at less of a risk for things like lactic acid buildup. And if you do end up with a high lactic acid build up, alkaline water is known to be a good cleanser: flushing out acidic wastes and toxins to help you recover faster (from a workout or an illness). This cleansing extends to the digestive system, where alkaline water improves absorption of nutrients and is colon-cleansing by breaking down mucus buildup on colon walls.
Alkaline water also helps to hydrate and detoxify as a whole, contributing to overall skin health and appearance. It’s thought to help in overall immune system support by neutralizing and reducing free radicals.
Most of the benefits of alkaline water have to do with its ability to help re-balance the pH of your body, preventing problems that might occur if your blood gets too acidic. These problems include, but are not limited to acid reflux, cancer, high blood pressure, diabetes, kidney disease, and high cholesterol. Alkaline water is also thought to help with anti-aging, stemming from its positive hydration, skin health, weight loss, and detoxifying properties.
Just because the science behind alkaline water is a little confusing, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be drinking it! Alkaline water’s benefits not only help with your endurance and recovery as a dancer, which will increase the amount of time you can train and get after it, but will contribute to improved overall health too!