I’ve been thinking about water a lot lately. Don’t know why. Perhaps because I just moved into a house where I have to pay for my water usage. Wondering how that will add up. Remembering the old motto, “If it’s yellow, let it mellow; if it’s brown, flush it down.”
Some of my best memories are of water: From the age of 7 through 25, I was a competitive swimmer. I spent about 4 hours a day in the pool going back and forth and back and forth. That’s a lot of miles. It left me with wonderful lung capacity and broad shoulders. It brought me friends through all the teams I’ve competed for in high school and in colleges. It brought me solitude. There is nothing quite like the solitude of mindlessly swimming laps in blue silence, body working like the well oiled machine it is, mind floating free.
Then there’s the ocean, immense and forever. I love sitting on a warm beach, gazing out at rollers coming in, foam at my toes and sun warming my back. The softness of sand squeezing between my toes, caressing my body. Going into the ocean has always been thrilling for me. So much life abounds beneath the waves. I can float on the surface and gaze down, or don scuba gear and be a part of that life underneath. It’s another world full of amazing creatures, giant and miniscule. What a gift to be able to participate in it, if even for a short time.
Fun is floating on the surface of the warm ocean, letting the waves rock me. Diving beneath oncoming waves, feet flipping through as the wave rolls over me. Fun is riding that wave in, my body stiff as a board, timing it just so, to slither all the way in to the beach.
We are largely composed of water, 60-75% of our bodies, depending on our percentage of body fat. Our tides follow the moon also. I feel so fortunate to have access to potable water. It is not an unlimited resource. Remember we live in a closed system, such that the water I drink has been here as long as the earth has been. It has been drunk before by others, nourishing them as it nourishes me now, and will nourish others beyond me.
Interesting water facts:
Symptoms of dehydration:
dark colored urine
Chronic dehydration can manifest as heartburn, constipation, urinary tract infections, chronic fatigue syndrome, and elevated cholesterol as well as impacting the entire immune system.
Common tap water contaminants: arsenic (a carcinogen), aluminum (increases risk of Alzheimer’s), fluoride (actually a toxin–note the warning on toothpaste labels to use only a pea-sized drop of toothpaste and don’t swallow), prescription and OTC drugs, and disinfectant byproducts (community water is often treated with chlorine whose metabolites are carcinogenic).
How much water you need to drink daily varies widely. An easy rule of thumb that covers all the bases is about 8 8-ounce glasses of filtered water daily (about 1.9 liters). Your fluid intake can be composed of juices, soups, and most fruits. Although the Institute of Medicine recognizes alcohol, coffee, tea, and sodas as possible fluid replacement choices, really the best choice for your body is filtered water (this guideline is not intended for those with certain illnesses such as renal disease, diabetes, heart failure, and cirrhosis–let your physician be your guide).
And that’s just the start! There is so much to say about water, I couldn’t possibly relate it all here. An increased awareness of what you drink and how precious a resource you are consuming is my goal now.
Now go treat yourself to a glass of water, whether you think you need it or not…
To your health!
Annie RN, MSN