Water and Hydration
There is no better place than Alaska to remind you of the dynamics of water. Water is weak, strong, soft, rough, cold and warm. Its powerful life source is everywhere. From the clouds, rains, Tandra, glaciers activities, whales breathing, moose drinking, bears fishing, sheep grazing, beavers dams, foraging eagles, to the dolphins’ playful attitudes and sea otters sunbathing on icebergs; water orchestrates and dances with all the life it supports.
Water peaceful nature ultimately reached my soul; as I witnessed salmon fighting streams, before reaching their birth grounds. Love and calm awaited them at the end of a long and strenuous journey. Thanks to Alaska, I now better understand life, survival instinct, resilience, community power and the endless process of change. I recognize the shared similarities life and water have. They both face inescapable challenges and can’t ultimately withstand one journey. One mere action can either ease, complicate or end them. The rebirth cycle is endless. Enough philosophical thoughts for now, let us explore the important role water plays in our health.
Though our body can survive without food for about three weeks, it can’t go without water too long. Depending on general health and environmental conditions, a week or less is the maximum. Our body is composed of 60% of water which cells need to function. Most water loss occurs through urination, bowel movement and sweating. Replenishing is therefore imperative and best done on daily basis. Hydrating can be accomplished by drinking and eating high-content water foods such as tomato, cucumber, lettuce, radish, strawberry or watermelon. Teas, coffees, and some homemade vegetables/fruits juices are good sources as well. That said, keep in mind that they are diuretics. The best way to hydrate your body is to drink WATER.
Water helps to
- Regulate our body temperature
- Transport nutrients throughout our body
- Facilitate digestion
- Eliminate wastes and toxins from our body
- Control energy level
- Assist in weight management
- Suppress appetite
- Lubricate joins
- Promote brain function
- Fight against kidney stones
and, possibly, even reduce the risk of breast, colon and bladder cancer.
Even as low as 1 to 2% of water loss of your body weight can bring serious side effects. Here are a few signs of dehydration
- Feeling thirsty
- Feeling dizzy
- Physical and mental fatigue
- Decreased urination
- Yellow urine
- Light to severe headaches
- Muscle weakness
- Muscle cramps
- Dry skin
- Rapid heart rate
There is also no one-quantity-fits-all water formula. The amount of water must be based on your lifestyle, medications/supplementations you take, environment, and personal body needs. Feel free to explore the subject with your doctor, nutritionist and sport coach.
That said, having a glass of water here and there has never hurt anyone. So, I raise my water glass to you and say “To Your Health”!