1. We’ve turned a corner on the central environmental challenge of our time
- For the first time in history, the world is united to cut the carbon pollution that’s driving climate change by moving beyond the dirty fossil fuels of the past to the cleaner, smarter energy options that can power our future without imperiling the planet.
Here's what the #ParisAgreement on world climate will do — and what it won't https://t.co/Ujgm64QXNf https://t.co/TWtg2NgUGa— Los Angeles Times (@Los Angeles Times)1450014914.0
- To do that, 195 countries—rich and poor, large and small and at every stage of development—have pledged to cut, cap or mitigate their carbon footprint.
- This sends a clear message to the world: we’re not stuck with fossil fuels that do more harm than good.
- It sends a clear message to markets: we’re moving to a low-carbon global economy where the future belongs to those who invest in ways to make our homes, cars and workplaces more efficient and to get more clean power from renewable sources like the wind and sun.
- And it sends a clear message to our children: we won’t abandon you to pay the price for reckless habits that bring havoc and ruin to our world and our lives.
2. This agreement is ambitious
- As a whole, we’ve pledged to hold down global warming to well below 2 degrees Centigrade, or 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit, above pre-industrial levels; and to work toward holding the increase to 1.5 degrees Centigrade, or 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit.
BREAKING: A global climate deal has been reached at #COP21! There's more work ahead, but this is a historic step! https://t.co/g8nWWNgh0p— NRDC (@NRDC)1449945073.0
- To date, average global temperatures have risen by about 1 degree Centigrade, or 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit, above pre-industrial levels, with most of the warming coming in the past 50 years.
- The science tells us we must hold total warming below 2 degrees Centigrade to avoid the worst impacts of climate change.
- Even at that level, though, coastal communities and island nations would be at risk of swallowed by rising seas. That’s why it’s important we hold the line at 1.5 degrees Centigrade.
- The pledges made to date won’t get us where we need to go: at best, they’ll take us roughly halfway to the 2-degree limit.
- The agreement, though, calls on nations to assess progress every two years and come back together five years from now to build on those gains by ratcheting up their ambitions and setting more assertive goals going forward.
- That’s a formula for the continuous improvement we’ll need to get the job done.
3. This agreement is comprehensive
- It calls for real action by nearly every country in the world that account for roughly 95 percent of the dangerous carbon pollution that’s driving climate chaos.
- It provides for a climate investment fund of public and private money totaling at least $100 billion a year, starting in 2020, to help low-income countries protect themselves from the threats already backed into global climate change and to invest in the clean-energy options that can help them to fight climate change while improving the lives of their people.
- Last year the U.S. provided some $430 million in public funding specifically to assist developing countries in this way, and Sec. Kerry pledged in Paris that we’ll double that amount to at least $860 million by 2020.
.@JohnKerry Pledges New Support to Vulnerable Countries at #COP21 https://t.co/0kNYTFJVpJ @sierraclub @StateDept https://t.co/kxgLZiOsLW— EcoWatch (@EcoWatch)1449673738.0
- Overall—public and private, grants and loans—U.S. investment in climate change mitigation and clean energy already tops $2.5 billion a year worldwide.
4. This agreement has teeth
- For the first time, countries must take inventory of their major sources of carbon pollution and share that information with the rest of the world. When we know where the pollution is coming from, we’ll know how to go after it.
- Countries must monitor carbon emissions, using standard measuring practices subject to expert international review, and report regularly on the progress they’re making in reducing those emissions. Knowing what’s working and what isn’t will help speed the innovation and enterprise needed to reach the goals.
- And sharing experiences and lessons learned will help all countries make progress and speed the shift to a low-carbon global economy worldwide.
5. This agreement supports the global transition to a low-carbon economy
- The coal, gas and oil that is driving global climate change accounts for roughly 80 percent of world energy use.
- That, though, is changing, as private corporations, national governments, mayors, governors and others work to recast the global economy around cleaner, smarter energy options.
The world has come together to send a clear signal- the low carbon economy is on its way #ParisAgreement: https://t.co/3cgOlaseVA— WRI Climate (@WRI Climate)1449946509.0
- An estimated $50 trillion will be invested in the global energy system over the next two decades, and much of that will go toward clean, renewable power like wind and solar and to systems to help distribute and store the electricity they produce.
- In the U.S., General Motors, Apple computers, Google, Walmart and 150 other nameplate American corporations have pledged to reduce their carbon footprint, invest in clean energy and otherwise work toward sustainable practices in a private effort to fight climate change.
- The Bank of America, Goldman Sachs and Citigroup has pledged to invest a total of $325 billion—at least—in clean energy technology over the coming decade.
- The U.S., France and 17 other countries that together account for 80 percent of global research and development in clean energy technologies have promised to double that investment over the next five years.
- And Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Jeff Bezos and 25 other billionaire investors are creating a private-public initiative to help bring clean energy ideas to market.
6. Every country will do its part, through plans tailored to each nation’s circumstances
- This is the basis of all international relations.
- Where we can gather around common values and goals, we form partnerships that seek to advance the agenda we share. Then we look at the best way each of us can contribute, based on where each country is in its development arc and the resources each brings to the table.
- We agree on the principles and then map out a way forward that recognizes where each nation is in its development arc and its capacity to help.
- That’s what we do with every international partnership we’ve ever developed.
- That’s what we do with our military alliances, in Europe, Asia and around the world.
- It’s how we’ve structured our trade agreements.
- It’s how peace talks get done and global summits are held.
- And that’s what we’ve done in Paris.
- We’ve said, as a world, we have a problem. It’s a problem for all of us. We know the solution. And it’s a solution we can all help advance.
- In the U.S., we’ve promised to do our part.
- So have the Chinese. So has India. So have more than 180 other countries around the world.
- These promises have meaning, because, in the connected world we live in, credibility matters.
- And the way you build credibility on the world stage, the way countries build trust, is by following through with our commitments—doing what we say we’ll do.
- These are promises each country has made. We’ll know who keeps their promises and, if there are countries that don’t, we’ll know that too, and we’ll know why.
7. We’ll get back together again every five years, beginning in 2020, to build on the progress we’ve made
- This is about global progress, global transformation, global change.
- It’s going to play out over many decades.
- And revisiting our progress, assessing where we are and determining how best to move forward, is essential to its success.
- It’s the only way we’ll know how well we’re doing at the game, what kind of halftime adjustments must be made and how we can keep getting better.
- And here’s what we’ll have then that we don’t have now.
- We’ll have five years of action, by countries contributing, in their own way, to a common goal: cut the carbon pollution that’s driving climate change by investing in efficiency, cleaning up dirty power plants, cars and trucks, and getting more power from the wind and sun.
- We’ll have five years of experience, by countries doing their best to find out what works, to find out how to do it even better going forward through innovation, markets and enterprise, then sharing all that with the rest of the world.
- And we’ll have five years of results, real change that helps to move us away from the fossil fuels that are driving climate change and toward the cleaner, smarter energy options that can power our future without imperiling our world.
- That’s what we’ll bring to the table five years from now, when we meet to take stock of where we are and set the course for future change.
8. We’re doing what’s best for our country
- Under President Obama’s leadership, we’re cutting our carbon footprint to fight the climate change that’s threatening our future.
- This agreement ensures the rest of the world does its part.
- There’s a lot the rest of the world can learn from what we’re doing in the U.S., there’s a lot we can learn from others, and there are a lot of American jobs to be created coming and going.
- President Obama has pledged to cut carbon pollution and other U.S. greenhouse gases between 26 and 28 percent by 2025, compared to 2005 levels.
- We’re already down 10 percent, by the way, even as our economy has grown 16 percent since the base year.
- We’re doing it by cleaning up our cars, trucks and dirty power plants.
- By investing in efficiency so we can do more with less waste.
- By building the best all-electric and hybrid cars anywhere in the world.
- And by powering them with more electricity from the wind and sun.
- That’s the way of the future for our country.
- The Paris agreement makes clear, it’s the way of the future for the world.
9. No country has a more comprehensive plan to cut carbon pollution than China, and this agreement both enshrines those efforts and aligns it with the larger global movement.
- China is doing something no other country in history has done: moving hundreds of millions of people from abject poverty to the global middle class in the span of a single generation.
China hails #ParisAgreement fair in splitting duty between developed & developing countries https://t.co/9izLe3JpMg https://t.co/IqHTN3VuOo— China Xinhua News (@China Xinhua News)1450014449.0
- The economic growth that supports that transition, though, has come at a high and unsustainable cost.
- China is the world’s largest producer of carbon emissions, just one of a litany of horrendous pollution problems the people of China face.
- China has pledged to cap its carbon emissions by 2030, and is working to do so sooner if possible, even as it does something no other nation in history has ever done: move hundreds of millions of people from abject poverty to the global middle class in the span of a single generation.
- Cleaning up this carbon pollution is in China’s own interest.
- Every day during the Paris talks, we read news reports about the horrendous air pollution plaguing China’s cities. It was so bad on some days people were advised to stay inside. In Beijing, air pollution was 40 times what the World Health Organization recommends as the maximum safe levels.
- The main problem: 80 percent of China’s power is now coming from coal.
- That has to change, and the country is working hard to change it.
- Over the past five years, 40 percent of all the world’s investment in wind and solar power has been in China, which invested some $90 billion in those renewable power sources last year alone.
- By 2030, China will be producing as much electricity from the wind and the sun as the U.S. currently produces in its entire generating system.
- China is putting a price on carbon, by creating the world’s largest cap and trade system, to launch in 2017.
- In March, China will adopt its 13th five-year plan, a blueprint for the nation’s long-term social and economic development. “Green Development” is one of five overarching principles guiding the plan.
- It’s already affecting everything from the design and construction of new buildings to China’s massive investment in subways, bus systems and rapid rail transit.
- And China has pledged $3.1 billion in climate and clean energy aid to developing nations.
10. India is working to hold down the growth of its carbon footprint while improving lives in a country with a fast-growing population and rapidly expanding economy.
- India is working to hold down the growth of its carbon footprint while improving lives in a country with a fast-growing population and rapidly expanding economy.
- To do that, India has pledged to cut its carbon intensity—the amount of carbon it emits as a share of economic output—by about a third by 2030.
- That’s an ambitious goal that will have real impact.
- By 2030, India’s economy is projected to be up to seven times larger than it is today. Its carbon footprint is expected to grow by less than half that much. That’s going to prevent billions of tons of carbon pollution per year.
- How will India get there? The country has launched the Indian equivalent of an Apollo Mission to install as much wind and solar power over the next seven years as would be generated by 350 coal plants. By 2030, the country plans to get 40 percent of its power without burning fossil fuels - focusing largely on wind and solar power and energy efficiency.
- In addition, India is embarked on a historic effort to reclaim forests and other green spaces by planting billions of trees. By 2030, these trees will absorb between 2.5 billion and 3 billion tons of carbon from the atmosphere every year, going a long way to offset the country’s total carbon footprint.
- India is showing how a country with a growing population and expanding economy can strike a blow against climate change while improving the lives of its people.
11. It is time for Congress to get on board with the progress we need
- The Paris agreement is a public document. Every member of Congress can read it, and we expect every member will weigh in on it. That’s how our democracy works.
- But this is the kind of international agreement presidents make all the time as part of their executive authority and in their Constitutional duty to oversee the conduct of foreign policy and represent the U.S. in its dealings with other countries.
- It’s not a formal treaty and it doesn’t commit us to any new international legal obligations.
- It doesn’t contain legally binding carbon targets.
- Each country has put forth its own voluntary proposals for ambitions carbon reductions.
- That’s good for the U.S..
- We’re going to cut our carbon footprint 26-28 percent by 2025, compared to our 2005 level, because that’s what’s good for our people at home.
- We’re already down 10 percent—even as our economy has grown 16 percent.
- So we’re making real progress.
- We hope the Congress will get on board with policies that help us to build on our success, not try to drag us backward.
12. American leadership, American interests
- The Paris agreement is a tribute to unprecedented effort and cooperation on behalf of every nation represented.
- The global stakes have demanded nothing less.
- The agreement could not have happened, though, without American leadership and, as always, our leadership abroad begins with leadership at home.
- President Obama has done more to help protect future generations from the widening dangers of climate change than any other leader at any time anywhere on the face of the planet.
- At every step of the way, he’s been opposed by Republican leaders in both houses of Congress.
- Even now, the GOP leaders in the House and Senate are doing all they can to block the centerpiece of the president’s fight against climate change, the Clean Power Plan to cut the carbon pollution from our single largest source—the dirty power plants that account for 40 percent of the U.S. carbon footprint.
- Republican leaders in Congress want to block this initiative, with no plan of their own for dealing with the central environmental challenge of our time.
- They won’t get away with it, but there’s a larger problem here.
- The refusal of congressional Republicans to join in the fight against climate change has put the majority party in both houses of Congress at odds with sound science, out of touch with the hardship already being visited upon our nation and all others by climate change and missing in action from the clean energy revolution that is remaking the global economy.
- As of Saturday, they’re at odds with the collective will of the world.
- That’s no way to conduct the people’s business.
- It’s long past time for Republican obstructionism on the climate change fight to end.
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EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
By James Shulmeister
Climate Explained is a collaboration between The Conversation, Stuff and the New Zealand Science Media Centre to answer your questions about climate change.
If you have a question you'd like an expert to answer, please send it to firstname.lastname@example.org
What was the climate and sea level like at times in Earth’s history when carbon dioxide in the atmosphere was at 400ppm?<p>The last time global carbon dioxide levels were consistently at or above 400 parts per million (ppm) was around <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/nature14145" target="_blank">four million years ago</a> during a geological period known as the <a href="http://www.geologypage.com/2014/05/pliocene-epoch.html" target="_blank">Pliocene Era</a> (between 5.3 million and 2.6 million years ago). The world was about 3℃ warmer and sea levels were higher than today.</p><p>We know how much carbon dioxide the atmosphere contained in the past by studying ice cores from Greenland and Antarctica. As compacted snow gradually changes to ice, it traps air in bubbles that contain <a href="https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/annals-of-glaciology/article/enclosure-of-air-during-metamorphosis-of-dry-firn-to-ice/09D9C60A8DA412D16645E6E6ABC1892F" target="_blank">samples of the atmosphere at the time</a>. We can sample ice cores to reconstruct past concentrations of carbon dioxide, but this record only takes us back about a million years.</p><p>Beyond a million years, we don't have any direct measurements of the composition of ancient atmospheres, but we can use several methods to estimate past levels of carbon dioxide. One method uses the relationship between plant pores, known as stomata, that regulate gas exchange in and out of the plant. The density of these stomata is <a href="https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/095968369200200109" target="_blank">related to atmospheric carbon dioxide</a>, and fossil plants are a good indicator of concentrations in the past.</p><p>Another technique is to examine sediment cores from the ocean floor. The sediments build up year after year as the bodies and shells of dead plankton and other organisms rain down on the seafloor. We can use isotopes (chemically identical atoms that differ only in atomic weight) of boron taken from the shells of the dead plankton to reconstruct changes in the acidity of seawater. From this we can work out the level of carbon dioxide in the ocean.</p><p>The data from four-million-year-old sediments suggest that <a href="https://agupubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1029/2010PA002055" target="_blank">carbon dioxide was at 400ppm back then</a>.</p>
Sea Levels and Changes in Antarctica<p>During colder periods in Earth's history, ice caps and glaciers grow and sea levels drop. In the recent geological past, during the most recent ice age about 20,000 years ago, sea levels were at least <a href="https://science.sciencemag.org/content/292/5517/679.abstract" target="_blank">120 meters lower</a> than they are today.</p><p><span></span>Sea-level changes are calculated from changes in isotopes of oxygen in the shells of marine organisms. For the Pliocene Era, <a href="https://agupubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1029/2004PA001071" target="_blank">research</a> shows the sea-level change between cooler and warmer periods was around 30-40 meters and sea level was higher than today. Also during the Pliocene, we know the West Antarctic Ice Sheet was <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/nature07867" target="_blank">significantly smaller</a> and global average temperatures were about 3℃ warmer than today. Summer temperatures in high northern latitudes were up to 14℃ warmer.</p><p>This may seem like a lot but modern observations show strong <a href="https://journals.ametsoc.org/jcli/article/23/14/3888/32547" target="_blank">polar amplification</a> of warming: a 1℃ increase at the equator may raise temperatures at the poles by 6-7℃. It is one of the reasons why Arctic sea ice is disappearing.</p>
Impacts in New Zealand and Australia<p>In the Australian region, there was no Great Barrier Reef, but there may have been <a href="https://link.springer.com/content/pdf/10.1007/BF02537376.pdf" target="_blank">smaller reefs along the northeast coast of Australia</a>. For New Zealand, the partial melting of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet is probably the most critical point.</p><p>One of the key features of New Zealand's current climate is that Antarctica is cut off from global circulation during the winter because of the big <a href="https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.3402/tellusa.v54i5.12161" target="_blank">temperature contrast</a> between Antarctica and the Southern Ocean. When it comes back into circulation in springtime, New Zealand gets strong storms. Stormier winters and significantly warmer summers were likely in the mid-Pliocene because of a weaker polar vortex and a warmer Antarctica.</p><p>It will take more than a few years or decades of carbon dioxide concentrations at 400ppm to trigger a significant shrinking of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet. But recent studies show that <a href="http://nora.nerc.ac.uk/id/eprint/521027/" target="_blank">West Antarctica is already melting</a>.</p><p>Sea-level rise from a partial melting of West Antarctica could easily exceed a meter or more by 2100. In fact, if the whole of the West Antarctic melted it could <a href="http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.695.7239&rep=rep1&type=pdf" target="_blank">raise sea levels by about 3.5 meters</a>. Even smaller increases raise the risk of <a href="https://www.pce.parliament.nz/publications/preparing-new-zealand-for-rising-seas-certainty-and-uncertainty" target="_blank">flooding in low-lying cities</a> including Auckland, Christchurch and Wellington.</p>
- Scientists Sound the Alarm: CO2 Levels Race Past Point of No Return ›
- Global Carbon Levels Surpass 400 ppm for First Time Ever for Entire ... ›
- Carbon Dioxide Levels Set to Pass 400 ppm and Remain Above ... ›
By Jo Harper
Investment in U.S. offshore wind projects are set to hit $78 billion (€69 billion) this decade, in contrast with an estimated $82 billion for U.S. offshore oil and gasoline projects, Wood Mackenzie data shows. This would be a remarkable feat only four years after the first offshore wind plant — the 30 megawatt (MW) Block Island Wind Farm off the coast of Rhode Island — started operating in U.S. waters.
Corporates Shift<p>Helping to drive offshore growth, U.S. corporate buyers <a href="https://www.dw.com/en/cities-leading-the-transition-to-renewables/a-42850621" target="_blank">are increasingly relying on wind energy to power their businesses</a>. Walmart and AT&T are the two top corporate wind buyers, while 14 newcomers entered the wind market in 2019, including Estée Lauder and McDonald's.</p><p>"Oil and gas companies have jumped into the U.S. offshore wind market, where they can transfer expertise in offshore fossil fuel development to clean energy investments," says Max Cohen, principal analyst, Americas Power & Renewable research at Wood Mackenzie. Many international oil and gas companies have already recognized this huge potential and entered the US offshore wind market, including Orsted, Equinor and Shell.</p><p>"Given the recent tumult in oil prices, fossil fuel companies may more and more be looking to diversify their portfolios, particularly with assets that are contracted or offer returns uncorrelated with oil and gas," Cohen says. "Offshore wind is an area where they may have a comparative advantage, and they can then leverage the experience with that technology to make the leap to onshore wind, solar, and other renewable technologies," he says.</p>
East Coast leads the way<p>"There is enormous opportunity, especially off the East Coast, for wind. I am very bullish," said former Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke. "Market excitement is moving towards offshore wind. I haven't seen this kind of enthusiasm from industry since the Bakken shale boom," he said.</p><p>Offshore wind initiatives require excessive upfront spending: a 250 MW venture costs about $1 billion, based on International Energy Agency data, but as costs fall the tipping point after which costs fall faster gets nearer</p><p>"The opportunity has been created by Northeastern states seeing the large price declines for offshore wind in Europe," says Cohen. Onshore wind is historically the lowest cost renewable resource, but is at its most expensive in the Northeast, he adds. "But costs are falling slower than for other technologies," he says.</p>
Jobs and Coastal Revitalization<p>U.S. wind energy now supports 120,000 US jobs and 530 domestic factories. A study by the University of Delaware predicted that the supply chain needed to build offshore turbines to feed power to seven East Coast states by 2030 would generate nearly $70 billion in economic activity and at least 40,000 full-time jobs. An American Wind Energy Association's (AWEA's) March 2020 report estimated that developing 30,000 MW of offshore wind along the East Coast could support up to 83,000 jobs and $25 billion in annual economic output by 2030.</p><p>Having said that, not all of the jobs are American jobs. The offshore wind developers with commercial leases in the US are all foreign companies. There is growing interest from the shipbuilding sector in the Gulf of Mexico in partnering with offshore wind companies to provide services. As a result, some of the US oil trade associations have submitted comments supporting certain aspects of offshore wind. "However, it is unclear to what extent offshore wind developers plan to use US vessels and crew, and the existing projects did not incorporate US vessels or labor at all," Hawkins says.</p>
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- Offshore Wind Power Could Produce More Electricity Than World ... ›
The COVID-19 pandemic has revealed both the strengths and limitations of globalization. The crisis has made people aware of how industrialized food production can be, and just how far food can travel to get to the local supermarket. There are many benefits to this system, including low prices for consumers and larger, even global, markets for producers. But there are also costs — to the environment, workers, small farmers and to a region or individual nation's food security.
- UN: Acute Food Shortages Worldwide May Double Due to COVID-19 ›
- The Climate Crisis Is 'a Perfect Storm' Headed for the World's Food ... ›
By Joe Leech
The human body comprises around 60% water.
It's commonly recommended that you drink eight 8-ounce (237-mL) glasses of water per day (the 8×8 rule).
1. Helps Maximize Physical Performance<p>If you don't stay hydrated, your physical performance can suffer.</p><p>This is particularly important during intense exercise or high heat.</p><p>Dehydration can have <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/how-to-tell-if-youre-dehydrated" target="_blank">a noticeable effect</a> if you lose as little as 2% of your body's water content. However, it isn't uncommon for athletes to lose as much as 6–10% of their water weight via sweat.</p><p>This can lead to altered body temperature control, reduced motivation, and increased fatigue. It can also make exercise feel much more difficult, both physically and mentally.</p><p>Optimal hydration has been shown to prevent this from happening, and it may even reduce the <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/oxidative-stress" target="_blank">oxidative stress</a> that occurs during high intensity exercise. This isn't surprising when you consider that muscle is about 80% water.<a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19344695" target="_blank"><span></span></a></p><p>If you exercise intensely and tend to sweat, staying hydrated can help you perform at your absolute best.</p><p><strong>Summary</strong></p><p><strong></strong>Losing as little as 2% of your body's water content can significantly impair your physical performance.</p>
2. Significantly Affects Energy Levels and Brain Function<p>Your brain is strongly influenced by your hydration status.</p><p>Studies show that even mild dehydration, such as the loss of 1–3% of body weight, can impair many aspects of brain function.</p><p>In a study in young women, researchers found that fluid loss of 1.4% after exercise impaired both mood and concentration. It also increased the frequency of headaches.</p><p>Many members of this same research team conducted a similar study in young men. They found that fluid loss of 1.6% was detrimental to working memory and increased feelings of anxiety and fatigue.<a href="https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/british-journal-of-nutrition/article/mild-dehydration-impairs-cognitive-performance-and-mood-of-men/3388AB36B8DF73E844C9AD19271A75BF/core-reader" target="_blank"></a></p><p>A fluid loss of 1–3% equals about 1.5–4.5 pounds (0.5–2 kg) of body weight loss for a person weighing 150 pounds (68 kg). This can easily occur through normal daily activities, let alone during exercise or high heat.</p><p>Many other studies, with subjects ranging from <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/parenting/signs-of-dehydration-in-toddlers" target="_blank">children</a> to <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/symptoms-of-dehydration-in-elderly" target="_blank">older adults</a>, have shown that mild dehydration can impair mood, memory, and brain performance.</p><p><strong>Summary</strong></p><p><strong></strong>Mild dehydration (fluid loss of 1–3%) can impair energy levels, impair mood, and lead to major reductions in memory and brain performance.</p>
3. May Help Prevent and Treat Headaches<p>Dehydration can trigger <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/dehydration-headache" target="_blank">headaches</a> and migraine in some individuals.<span></span></p><p>Research has shown that a headache is one of the most common symptoms of dehydration. For example, a study in 393 people found that 40% of the participants experienced a headache as a result of dehydration.</p><p>What's more, some studies have shown that drinking water can help relieve headaches in those who experience frequent headaches.</p><p>A study in 102 men found that drinking an additional 50.7 ounces (1.5 liters) of water per day resulted in significant improvements on the Migraine-Specific Quality of Life scale, a scoring system for <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/migraine-symptoms" target="_blank">migraine symptoms</a>.<a href="https://academic.oup.com/fampra/article/29/4/370/492787" target="_blank"></a></p><p>Plus, 47% of the men who drank more water reported headache improvement, while only 25% of the men in the control group reported this effect.<a href="https://academic.oup.com/fampra/article/29/4/370/492787" target="_blank"></a></p><p>However, not all studies agree, and researchers have concluded that because of the lack of high quality studies, more research is needed to confirm how increasing hydration may help improve headache symptoms and decrease headache frequency.<a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26200171" target="_blank"></a></p><p><strong>Summary</strong></p><p><strong></strong>Drinking water may help reduce headaches and headache symptoms. However, more high quality research is needed to confirm this potential benefit.</p>
4. May Help Relieve Constipation<p><a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/constipation" target="_blank">Constipation</a> is a common problem that's characterized by infrequent bowel movements and difficulty passing stool.</p><p>Increasing fluid intake is often recommended as a part of the treatment protocol, and there's some evidence to back this up.</p><p>Low water consumption appears to be a risk factor for constipation in both younger and older individuals.</p><p>Increasing hydration may help decrease constipation.</p><p><a href="https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/mineral-water-benefits" target="_blank">Mineral water</a> may be a particularly beneficial beverage for those with constipation.</p><p>Studies have shown that mineral water that's rich in magnesium and sodium improves bowel movement frequency and consistency in people with constipation.<a href="http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5334415" target="_blank"></a></p><p><strong>Summary</strong></p><p><strong></strong>Drinking plenty of water may help prevent and relieve constipation, especially in people who generally don't drink enough water.</p>
5. May Help Treat Kidney Stones<p>Urinary stones are painful clumps of mineral crystal that form in the urinary system.</p><p>The most common form is <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/kidney-stones" target="_blank">kidney stones</a>, which form in the kidneys.</p><p>There's limited evidence that water intake can help prevent recurrence in people who have previously gotten kidney stones.<a href="https://www.cochranelibrary.com/cdsr/doi/10.1002/14651858.CD004292.pub3/full" target="_blank"></a></p><p>Higher fluid intake increases the volume of urine passing through the kidneys. This dilutes the concentration of minerals, so they're less likely to crystallize and form clumps.</p><p>Water may also help prevent the initial formation of stones, but studies are required to confirm this.</p><p><strong>Summary</strong></p><p><strong></strong>Increased water intake appears to decrease the risk of kidney stone formation.</p>
6. Helps Prevent Hangovers<p>A hangover refers to the unpleasant symptoms experienced after drinking <a href="https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/alcohol-good-or-bad" target="_blank">alcohol</a>.</p><p>Alcohol is a diuretic, so it makes you lose more water than you take in. This can lead to dehydration.</p><p>Although dehydration isn't the main cause of hangovers, it can cause symptoms like thirst, fatigue, headache, and dry mouth.</p><p>Good ways <a href="https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/7-ways-to-prevent-a-hangover" target="_blank">to reduce hangovers</a> are to drink a glass of water between drinks and have at least one big glass of water before going to bed.</p><p><strong>Summary</strong></p><p><strong></strong>Hangovers are partly caused by dehydration, and drinking water can help reduce some of the main symptoms of hangovers.</p>
7. Can Aid Weight Loss<p>Drinking plenty of water can help you <a href="https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/how-to-lose-weight-as-fast-as-possible/" target="_blank">lose weight</a>.</p><p>This is because water can increase satiety and boost your metabolic rate.</p><p>Some evidence suggests that increasing water intake can promote weight loss by slightly increasing your metabolism, which can increase the number of calories you burn on a daily basis.</p><p>A 2013 study in 50 young women with overweight demonstrated that drinking an additional 16.9 ounces (500 mL) of water 3 times per day before meals for 8 weeks led to significant reductions in body weight and body fat compared with their pre-study measurements.</p><p>The timing is important too. Drinking water half an hour before meals is the most effective. It can make you feel more full so that you <a href="https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/35-ways-to-cut-calories" target="_blank">eat fewer calories</a>.</p><p>In one study, dieters who drank 16.9 ounces (0.5 liters) of water before meals lost 44% more weight over a period of 12 weeks than dieters who didn't drink water before meals.</p>
The Bottom Line<p>Even mild dehydration can affect you mentally and physically.</p><p>Make sure that you <a href="https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/how-much-water-should-you-drink-per-day" target="_blank">get enough water each day</a>, whether your personal goal is 64 ounces (1.9 liters) or a different amount. It's one of the best things you can do for your overall health.</p>
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Since even moderate-intensity workouts offer a slew of benefits, walking is a good choice for people looking to stay healthy.
How to Rock Your Walk<p>Walking isn't just fun and healthy. It's accessible.</p><p>"Walking is cheap," says Dr. John Paul H. Rue, a sports medicine doctor at <a href="https://mdmercy.com/" target="_blank">Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore</a>. "You can do it anywhere at any time; [it] requires little to no special equipment and has many of the same cardio benefits as running or other more intense workouts."</p><p>Want to up your walking game? Try the tips below.</p>
Use Hand Weights<p>Cardio and strength training can go hand-in-hand when you add weights to your walk.</p><p>A <a href="https://journals.lww.com/acsm-msse/Fulltext/2019/03000/Associations_of_Resistance_Exercise_with.14.aspx" target="_blank">2019 study</a> found that weight training is good for your heart, and <a href="https://www.mayoclinicproceedings.org/article/S0025-6196(17)30167-2/abstract" target="_blank">research</a> shows it reduces the risk of developing a <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/nutrition-metabolism-disorders" target="_blank">metabolic disorder</a> by 17 percent. People with metabolic disorders have a higher chance of being diagnosed with high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and diabetes.</p><p>Rue suggests not carrying weights for your entire walk.</p><p>"Hand weights can give you an added level of energy burning, but you have to be careful with these because carrying [them] over a long period of time or while walking could actually lead to some overuse injuries," he says.</p>
Make It a Circuit<p>As another option, consider doing a circuit. First, put a pair of dumbbells on your lawn or somewhere in your home. Walk around the block once, then stop and do some bicep curls and tricep lifts before walking around the block again.</p><p>Rue recommends <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/exercise-fitness/running-with-weights" target="_blank">avoiding ankle weights</a> during cardio workouts, as they force you to use your quadriceps rather than hamstrings. They can also cause muscle imbalance, according to the <a href="https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/wearable-weights-how-they-can-help-or-hurt" target="_blank">Harvard Health Letter</a>.</p>
Find a Fitness Trail<p>Strength training isn't limited to weights. You can get stronger by <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/bodyweight-workout" target="_blank">simply using your body</a>.</p><p>Often found at parks, fitness trails are obstacle courses with equipment for pullups, pushups, rowing, and stretches to build upper and lower body strength.</p><p>Try searching "fitness trails near me" online, checking out your local parks and recreation website, or calling the municipal office to <a href="https://calisthenics-parks.com/" target="_blank">find one</a>.</p>
Recruit a Friend<p>People who workout together stay healthy together.</p><p><a href="https://bmcgeriatr.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12877-017-0584-3" target="_blank">One study</a> showed that older adults who exercised with a group improved or maintained their functional health and enjoyed their lives more.</p><p>Enlist the help of a walking buddy with a regimen you aspire to have. If you don't know anyone in your area, apps like <a href="https://www.strava.com/" target="_blank">Strava</a> have social networking features so you can get support from fellow exercisers.</p>
Try Meditation<p>According to the <a href="https://www.nccih.nih.gov/research/statistics/nhis/2017" target="_blank">2017 National Health Interview Survey</a>, published by the National Institutes of Health, meditation is on the rise, and for good reason.</p><p>Researchers <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29616846/" target="_blank">found</a> that mind-body relaxation practices can regulate inflammation, <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/biological-rhythms" target="_blank">circadian rhythms</a>, and <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/glucose" target="_blank">glucose</a> metabolism, as well as lower <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/high-blood-pressure-hypertension" target="_blank">blood pressure</a>.</p><p>"Any form of exercise can be turned into a meditation of some type, either by the surroundings you are walking in, like a park or trail, or by blocking out the outside world with music on your headphones," Rue says.</p><p>You can also play a podcast or download an app like <a href="https://www.headspace.com/headspace-meditation-app" target="_blank">Headspace</a> that has a library of guided meditations to practice while you walk.</p>
Do Fartlek Walks<p>Typically used in running, fartlek intervals alternate periods of increased and decreased speed. These are <a href="https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/benefits-of-hiit" target="_blank">high-intensity interval training (HIIT)</a> workouts, which allow exercisers to accomplish more in less time.</p><p><a href="https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0154075" target="_blank">One study</a> showed that 10-minute interval training improved <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/metabolic-syndrome" target="_blank">cardiometabolic</a> health, or lowered the risk of heart disease, stroke, and diabetes, just as well as working out at a continuous pace for 50 minutes.</p><p><a href="https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0111489" target="_blank">Research</a> also shows that HIIT workouts increase muscle <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/fast-twitch-muscles" target="_blank">oxidative</a> capacity, or the ability to use oxygen. To do a fartlek walk, try walking at an increased pace for 3 minutes, slow down for 2 minutes, and repeat.</p>
Gradually Increase Pace<p>A faster walking pace is associated with a lower risk of <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/copd" target="_blank">chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)</a> and respiratory diseases, according to a <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30303933/" target="_blank">2019 study</a>.</p><p>Still, it's best not to go from a stroll to an Olympic-worthy power walk in a day. Instead, increase your pace gradually to prevent injury.</p><p>"Start by walking at a brisk pace for about 10 minutes per day, 3 to 5 days per week," Rue says. "Once you've done this for a few weeks, increase your time by 5 to 10 minutes per day until you get to 30 minutes."</p>
Add Stairs<p>You've likely heard that taking the stairs instead of an elevator is a way to add more movement into your daily routine. It's also a way to step up your walking. Stair climbing has been shown to <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2211335519301123?via%3Dihub" target="_blank">decrease the risk of mortality</a> and can easily add a bit more challenge to your walk.</p><p>If you don't have stairs in your home, you can often find them outside a local municipal building, train station, or at a high school stadium.</p>
Is Your Walk a True Cardio Workout?<p>Not all walks are equal. A walk that's too leisurely may not provide enough burn to qualify as cardio. To see if you're getting a good workout, try to <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/how-to-check-heart-rate" target="_blank">measure your heart rate</a> using a monitor.</p><p>"A target goal for a good walking workout heart rate is about 50 to 70 percent of your maximum heart rate," Rue says, adding that maximum heart rate is <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/fitness-exercise/fat-burning-heart-rate" target="_blank">typically calculated</a> by 220 beats per minute minus your age.</p><p>You can also monitor how easily you can carry on a conversation while you walk to gauge your heart rate.</p><p>"If you can walk and carry on a normal conversation, that's probably a lower intensity walk," says Rue. "If you are slightly breathless but can still have a conversation, that's probably a moderate workout. If you are out of breath and can't talk normally, that's a vigorous workout."</p>
Takeaway<p>By shaking up your routine, you can add excitement to your workout and reap even more rewards than a basic walk provides. Increasing the pace and intensity of a workout will make it more effective.</p><p>Simply pick your favorite variation to add some spice to your next walk.</p>
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