Water: Your New Best Friend
by Bernadette Sukley
We’ve got the same amount of water in our bodies as planet Earth. Both of us are 60 to 75 percent H2O. And just as the world recycles water from seas to clouds to rain and back again, we need to replenish ours on a regular basis as well.
Know the signs
When you’re hungry, your stomach growls; when you’re sleepy you yawn. When you have to hit the ladies’ room, well, you get an urge. And yet, when you need water, your body is a bit lazy. By the time you feel thirsty, it may be too late.
As an essential element, water is required in amounts that exceed your ability to produce it. So, it’s best need to hydrate on an hourly basis. Unfortunately, if you forget, your body doesn’t give clear signals to tell you when you’re running low. You’ll notice a much more subtle set of signals:
Dry mouth. If your mouth goes dry, it may be a nervous reaction because you’re giving a big pitch, defending your client, or addressing your grandchild’s 6th grade class on career day. But it also may be because you’re not hydrated enough. Body water is also lost while you speak, breathe, or sing. If there’s water on the podium, drink it.
Headache. Sure, you’ve put a stressful day behind you, but did you take time to finish at least one 16-ounce water bottle? That could explain the pounding in your temples. Best thing to do is to sip water for the next few minutes. Your headache may not completely disappear, but you’ll have thwarted some serious health issues.
Poor memory. A slight feeling of disorientation may be a symptom of dehydration. Since all biochemical reactions occur in water, neurotransmitters may have a tough time getting around without sufficient quantities of H2O. Sit and sip water as soon as you can. Make sure you don’t move until you’ve got your bearings.
Three reasons you need more water as you age:
Medical tests. If you’re doing a blood glucose test which requires require fasting, you’ll need to be properly hydrated or your veins may collapse. This means more needle sticks.
Medications, vitamins and supplements. As you address your health issues with medication or supplements, water is always the best chaser. Juice may not be a good idea since some fruit blends are too high in sugar.
Medical conditions. You’ll need water for long-term conditions like diabetes, hypertension and constipation. Water is the foundation for health. It fills the spaces in and between cells and helps delicate and robust body functions run smoothly.
How much water should I drink?
Depends on age, weight, and activity level. The simple rule of thumb is to take your weight and divide by two, and that, in ounces, is the amount of water you should drink on a daily basis. For example, a 140-pound woman should be drinking about 70 ounces of water each day. When it’s hot and humid, it’s best to increase your water intake by about 10 percent, about 77 to 80 ounces. This may sound like a lot of water, but if you’re dealing with heart issues, sweating draws more fluid out of your body. This can lead to a drop in your blood pressure.
When is the best time to drink water?
There are several times that are ideal, and it’s best to hit all the time slots. First, sip upon awakening, no matter how early. Second, water before every meal. Don’t forget your water bottle before and after workouts (and sip during any workout that’s more than 30 minutes). Take a glass of water with alcoholic beverages. Lastly, have some water before you go to bed.
What if I hate water?
There are plenty of ways to alter the taste of plain old water so you can hydrate properly. Do your best to avoid sodas, however. They contain sugar, which is not hydrating. Seltzer waters come in a variety of flavors. Look at the label make sure they contain natural flavors and no aspartame, ACE-K (Acesulfame k), or any type of chemical sweeteners. It’s not unusual for people to develop headaches in reaction to these synthetic additives. Try thin slices of cucumber, citrus (lemon, lime, orange) in a water bottle, let them infuse overnight. Herbs like mint, lavender, and even basil can be crushed, added, and allowed to infuse overnight as well.
Now let’s get hydrated!
Bernadette Sukley has been in publishing for over 25 years. She’s written and published fiction and nonfiction books, short stories and articles. Her work has appeared in international magazines, including SAGA, a Scandinavian fashion magazine. She is a member of the Greater Lehigh Valley Writers Group (GLVWG) and served a year as the co-chair for its annual conference, The Write Stuff, and has served a year as GLVWG's anthology editor.