What if you learned that there was a drink that would make your skin bright, your digestive system feel great, keep mild depression at bay, make you stronger, and could help you lose weight? What if you learned that not having this drink could cause gastro-intestinal problems especially with elimination, make your organs malfunction and possibly cause irreparable damage to your skin, hair and heart?
My best bet is that you’d be determined to find out what the drink was and then get it by the case load. Fear not, fitness fan, that drink is water. Plain old water. Dull old water. Even pure tap water.
How much water is enough? Enough so that you’re thirst is quenched. There was a time when doctors and nutritional experts said for optimum health one must have at least 10 tall glass. Now that concept is being scrutinized and the current thought is that one should drink enough to feel healthy. You cannot know if you feel healthier by consuming more water UNLESS you try it for a few days. Why not do an experiment on your body starting today? It’s easy, actually. Simply have a large glass of water at the beginning of the day, with each meal and in the evening.
*Plain or sparkling? The decision is yours. If you’re concerned about sodium (or salt) in your diet then read the labels on all bottled water that you consume.
*A diet drink? Yes, water may be the best diet drink around. It has zero calories, quenches thirst and is available everywhere. How could you ask for more? I know that water naturally keeps the appetite in check, hydrates the body and helps the body metabolize stored fat.
*Drink for your skin? Youthful skin is well hydrated. No amount of expensive skin cream can take the place drinking pure water.
*Drink for building muscle? It's essential that you drink water for health and to build muscle. Without water, your muscles are not getting enough electrolytes. The down side is that muscle strength and control are weakened. Muscles are controlled by nerves. The electrical stimulation of nerves and contraction of muscles are the result of the exchange of electrolyte minerals dissolved in water. Not enough, bad stuff happens and dehydrated muscles are prone to fitness injuries.
*Drink for joint health? Water also helps out with the lubrication of your joints. Water is an ingredient in the makeup of the synovial fluid, the lubricating fluid between your joints. If you are dehydrated even for a brief period, less fluid is available to protect these areas.
*Drink to help cope with fluctuating hormone levels? During a woman’s monthly cycle, water retention in the body often makes the process more uncomfortable. Drinking water flushes the body. At menopause increased water helps us rehydrate from hot flashes and night sweats. Drinking extra water during an illness, such as a common cold, may also reduce the time you’re out of the action.
*Drink for a better brain? Yes, the brain is about 90 percent water. Since the body has no way of storing water we need to replace it. Adults lose 12 cups of water every day, through urinating, sweating, breathing, the water must be replaced somehow or we begin to feel out of sorts. If you’re feeling slow to go this season, muddled, forgetful, or just crabby, it could be you’re not drinking enough. When the body has enough water, you’ll feel increased mental clarity, have more endurance and energy, and may even find that feelings of depression have disappeared “like magic.” Foggy memory and depression may actually be symptoms of insufficient water in the body.
What IS the bottom line? According to the medical experts at the Mayo Clinic, www.mayoclinic.com, failing to take in more water than your body uses leads to dehydration. Even mild dehydration, say 1 percent to 2 percent loss of your body weight, will sap your energy and make you tired. Common causes of dehydration include strenuous activity, excessive sweating, vomiting and diarrhea. Signs and symptoms of dehydration include mild to excessive thirst, fatigue, headache, dry mouth, little or no urination, muscle weakness, dizziness, and lightheadedness. Severe and life-threatening dehydration are sometimes seen in the young and the elderly where lack of fluids can be a medical emergency.
On a personal note, we must reach out and help our youngest generation to become healthy and stay that way from offering a glass of water rather than a sugar-laced energy drink. Here’s one way. I’d like to personally invite you to visit Ojai on May 20 to get involved with Ojai Duck Derby, presented by the Rotary Club of Ojai. All the proceeds to this health event will be given to children in West Ventura County as participants raise awareness of obesity and obesity related diseases such as Type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular diseases becoming increasingly prevalent in children. Become a sponsor. Become a role model.
Water runs through the body like a river and it’s up to you to keep it flowing. Say yes to water and stay fit for life.
Sheila Cluff, fitness expert, television celebrity and owner of The Oaks at Ojai, is the author of Take 5: How You Can Benefit from Just Five Minutes of Daily Exercise and The Ultimate Recipe for Fitness by Sheila and Eleanor Brown. Visit Sheila’s Spa on the Internet and see all that’s happening at the resort: The Oaks at Ojai www.oaksspa.com.
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