Reaching your full physical potential can be as easy as staying hydrated.

You know it’s important to drink water, but how does it directly affect our bodies when it comes to fitness? Try a simple experiment. Stand up and slowly try to touch your toes. Do your leg muscles feel stiff and tight? If so, you may not be getting enough water.

Water makes up about 70% of our body, and without enough of it, our muscles, tissues and joints can become dehydrated. Dehydrated muscles, tissues and joints aren’t flexible, making us more susceptible to injury.

The main ingredient in the fluid that lubricates your joints is water. Whether you’re practicing yoga, running a race or lifting weights, you need to keep your joints well lubricated to help avoid injury.

The Mayo Clinic recommends the following to stay hydrated over a 24-hour period1:

  • Active men: 3 liters of water
  • Active women: 2.5 liters of water

This may seem like too much water, but your body will self-regulate over time. Here are three quick tips to make sure you drink enough water.

  1. MAKE WATER ACCESSIBLE. Carry a BPA-free water bottle for easy water access when you’re on the go.
  2. FOLLOW A SCHEDULE. Drink a glass of water in the morning with meals and after exercise.
  3. CHANGE YOUR HABITS. Choose water instead of soda or other beverages when dining out.

1 Accessed January 23, 2014.