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Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!

I know it’s been awhile since I’ve posted anything. Things have been hectic and busy. To top it all off, I’ve been traveling for work for the past month. For that reason, I came up with the subject of this very post – hydration.

The human body simply needs water to survive. The brain is made of about 70% water, bone – 22%, blood – 83%, lungs – 90%. Pretty interesting facts I found while doing a little research for this blog. The blood is an interesting one, because that’s the primary vessel that carries nutrients throughout our bodies and then helps expel the waste once we’re done with it.

My initial thought in writing this post, though, was to bring up the fact that we need to maintain a certain percentage of hydration for our bodies to operate efficiently. For the first two weeks of this job that has had me on the road, I wasn’t drinking enough water. As a result, I felt sluggish, I retained water, and my joints ached. It got so bad that it was actually painful to ball my hand up into a fist. Today, I woke up and it was 27 degrees outside in Afton, WY. By the end of the day in Logan, UT, it had climbed to 65. While that doesn’t seem like much, working in an enclosed trailer, lifting 75-125 lb. boxes and assembling display fixtures can create quite the workout and generate a little bit of sweat.

We need to replenish 2.4 liters of water per day. Obviously, most of that is derived directly from drinking water. The rest, we can get from the food we eat. Even if you only stick by that “cliche” rule of drinking eight 8 oz. glasses of water a day, that’s a half gallon. Two liters is 67.4 oz.

Naturally, there are other benefits from drinking water. Some may sound cliche, but they’re very true. Drinking a glass of water 15 minutes before a meal will make you feel full quicker, and therefore, cause you to eat less. This is one I like to do on days when I come home from work and workout before dinner. Generally, I’ll do my workout, drink my recovery formula (water based), then jump in the shower. By the time I eat, I’m nowhere near as hungry, even though I’ve just worked up a pretty good appetite for the most part.

Another great benefit is that water will help to flush toxins from your body. One of the biggest is sodium. These two are natural combatants. Sodium naturally dries things out. I guess that’s why it was used to cure meats in the pioneer days. When you’ve ingested too much salt or sodium, and haven’t taken in enough water, your body will try to hold on to whatever water it can get. This is what people refer to as being bloated, or retaining water. The cure? Drink more water! You’re holding on to it, because your body doesn’t feel like it has enough. Eventually, you’ll rehydrate enough to start clearing some of that salt from your body.

A few more statistics: fat cells are made up of about 10% water, where lean muscle is comprised of about 75% water. This is why a person who is overweight will generally dehydrate more easily than someone who is more fit. The average male should maintain about 60% hydration level. Women are around 55%. This difference is due to the natural difference in fatty tissue in the male and female anatomy.

There are just so many health benefits from drinking water. Not only can it help clear your body of things that shouldn’t be in there, but it can help prevent other things from going in.

So to steal a slogan from another popular beverage – Drink water! It does a body good!

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