As I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, I’ve joined a group of authors dedicated to sharing up messages on social media, and this week’s theme is “one simple thing I can do to improve my health today.”
There are about a bazillion different things I could talk about on this topic, because almost anything I chose to do would improve my health. I am so not a health fanatic, and never have been. No doubt it’s a character flaw, but, then, being too health-obsessed is probably one too, so let’s just skip the character assessments.
I decided to focus on the need to stay hydrated because it’s been on my mind a lot in the past year. Last summer, while my grandkids were visiting, I took them to the beach. It was a hot day in July, but we had a great time and they were enuoying themselves so much, we stayed longer than we probably should have. On my way back up the boardwalk toward the showers and parking lot, I got light-headed–so light-headed, in fact, that I had to send the kids for the lifeguards. It was an embarrassing moment, to be sure. The heat, the humidity, the relentless sun, the fact that I’d forgotten to eat my breakfast before we left home, and the fact that I was dehydrated all played a part.
Flash forward to the following week. Time for another visit to the beach. This time, I made sure to take plenty of water to the beach with us, ate a healthy breakfast, timed our visit earlier in the day, and figured I’d be okay. Nope. This time, I went down hard and was actually unresponsive. I came to shortly afterward, aware that people were saying things like, “Look! She’s breathing again,” and someone was splashing my face with cold water.
Needless to say, I haven’t been back to the beach since, but I have been extremely aware of the need to stay hydrated. Dehydration wasn’t the only issue at work, of course, but it was definitely a factor. It’s also an ongoing battle for me. I have the best of intentions, but I’m not so good on the follow-through. I need to turn drinking my water into a drinking game. Maybe if I chugged 8 ounces every time I heard a certain phrase during the course of a day, or any time I saw a particular image… I’ll have to give that some thought.
There are definite health benefits to staying hydrated.
#1 — Weight loss. Staying hydrated not only helps your body not to send false hunger signals to your brain, but it helps flush out fat and other toxins. Older Daughter always loses weight faster when she’s drinking enough water during the course of a day. I don’t notice such a direct correlation, myself, but it works for her and I know it doesn’t hurt my weight loss efforts.
#2 – Aids digestion. You knew it was coming, right? Water is necessary to eat and digest food. Digestive problems are another early warning sign of dehydration, and studies indicate that even acid reflux (thought by many to be caused by too much stomach acid) is related to lack of sufficient water, thus causing the body to create too little stomach acid.
#3 – Skin elasticity. When I was younger, I didn’t understand this issue at all. Now, I understand it quite well, thank you. Getting plenty of water helps your skin stay supple and lessens your changes of developing issues like aging skin, dermatitis and infection.
#4 – Mood balance — Our bodies are 60-75% water, so it makes sense that water is necessary for proper body and brain function. Sufficient water is necessary to keep the liver functioning well and also to keep the brain working at its peak. Lack of water can leave people feeling foggy and sluggish. In fact, lack of energy is often an early warning sign of dehydration.
#5 – Regulating body temperature. When we overheat, we sweat. If you’re not hydrated, you have nothing to sweat, so your body has a harder time maintaining a healthy body temperature.
#6 – Memory function. Again, the brain is made up of a lot of water. Proper hydration improves the flow of blood and oxygen to the brain, thus improving cognitive function and memory.
#7 – Joint / Eye lubrication. Our joints, spinal cord, eyes, and (yes) the brain are surrounded and protected by water. Remaining hydrated is vital to their well being. Shortly after my Disasters at the Beach last year, I mentioned to my eye doctor that I was experiencing some difficulty seeing certain things. After a thorough examination and the running of many tests, his conclusion was that I was … wait for it … dehydrated. Still. Despite what I thought were some pretty good efforts on my part to drink enough. :::sigh:::
#8. Healthy bowel function. As mentioned above, water aids in the elimination of waste material. It makes bowel movements and urination possible (and comfortable) and helps prevent disease. Constipation is an early sign of dehydration.
#9 – Muscle Efficiency. Being hydrated keeps muscles strong, lubricated, and (they say) energized. Apparently water aids in the transport of oxygen to your muscles so they are prepared when exerted.
#10 – Better immune health. Think of drinking water as your secret weapon to fighting off illnesses, improving lymph fluid within the immune system and preventing headaches, joint pain, muscle weakness, fatigue, and lightheadedness. When you think of it that way, drinking plenty of water seems like a no-brainer.
So my one simple thing I can do to improve my health today? Yeah, you guessed it! Drink plenty of water!
If you want to see what other authors are sharing today, search for #upbeatauthors on your favorite social media.