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Hydration – One Bite at a Time

By Derae Laster and Bob Harris, CAE

For months, our attention has been on the pandemic.   Though it hasn’t gone away, now is a good time to focus on personal health by simply drinking more water.

We have all heard, “drink a gallon of water a day.”   But placing a gallon jug on your association desk can be daunting.

In discussing how hard it can be to chug a  gallon, my friend said, “Remember how you eat an elephant?  One bite at a time.”

His advice had nothing to do with elephants or eating.  It addressed mindset. You tackle your biggest goals one bite at a time – or in this case, one gulp at a time.

The recommended gallon seems a bit much, especially if you’re addicted to the convenience of coffee and soft drinks.   Broken into small quantities throughout the day makes it easier.

Be determined to drink at least a gallon and work up to 100 ounces a day or about 6 of the 16-ounce bottles .  Though water is generally tasteless, for health you should drink as much as possible.

The many health benefits of water are encouraging.

Composition

Sixty percent of the body is comprised of water.  Nearly all metabolic activity occurs with the presence of water.  Eighty percent of our lungs and more than seventy percent of the brain contain water.  It is essential to a healthy body.

During activity, excretion of water is lost in the form of sweat or urine.   To maintain balanced levels of water in the body, we must replenish the water we lose.

Benefits of water intake include accelerated weight loss, added fluidity of the joints, improved oxygen flow, skin health, digestion, and inhibited ailments like kidney stones, and so much more.

Weight Loss – People struggle with losing weight. A key to weight loss is scheduling. Structure meals and water intake. Drink water 30 minutes to an hour before a meal and up to 2 hours after. The reason for this is to not allow your body to confuse water intake with meal intake. When you drink water with your meals, you tend to get “full” faster,  preventing your body from eating the right amount of nutrients and causing you to get hungrier, sooner.

Joint Health – Know someone complaining about joint pain?  Joints contain a lubricant within them that acts as a shock absorber. This lubricant is made up primarily of water. Prolonged dehydration results in the depletion of this lubricant. It can also result in uric acid accumulation which leads to pain and stiffness.

Breathing Regularity – Drinking water is essential to reducing breathing difficulties.   If you feel your breathing has slowed or have trouble, increase your water intake.  Focus on deep breathing through the nose and exhaling through your mouth.

Oxygen Flow –  Blood flow is responsible for the distribution of oxygen throughout the body via the hemoglobin present in red blood cells. Almost ninety percent of blood fluid is comprised of water.  Dehydration in the body affects the composition of red blood cells and reduces the distribution of oxygen throughout the organs.

Skin Health – The largest organ in our body is our skin. When the body becomes dehydrated or doesn’t receive the water it needs, it is visibly noticeable. Prolonged dehydration can cause wrinkles, premature aging, acne, and clogged pores.

Thermoregulation –  Thermoregulation is maintenance of body temperature. Water is a contributor to reducing temperature because it helps cool your body down. Overheating can lead to an electrolyte imbalance and heatstroke which may even result in death in an extreme situation.

Body Functions – Drinking water is not only a preventative measure it can also improve  basic functions. Increased energy, improved brain activity and regulated blood pressure are benefits that come from drinking water.  From headaches to exercise recovery time, water has a positive impact.

Digestion – The digestive system breaks down the nutrients that one ingests, processing the good and bad fats that enters the body.  Drinking water aids in digestion and can reduce heartburn and acidity.

During the pandemic our schedules, habits and routines have changed.   Make drinking a gallon of water part of better health.  Though health and nutrition are trendy, when it comes to water, its simple to drink at least 64 ounces, one bite at a time.

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Note:  Derae Laster is a lifestyle coach and entrepreneur. Bob Harris, CAE, provides free governance tips and templates at www.nonprofitcenter.com.