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5: Physical Alignment Practice #2 - Hydrate!

This series considers the importance of developing that intra- and inter-personal harmony by offering holistic practice considerations. They are intended as regular practices to support being in ‘right-relationship’ with yourself and with others. However, they are not prescriptions so much as offerings from which you may choose, modify or replace as you wish.


The emphasis here is on the interconnected whole that is each of us and that surrounds us. As you read through these, please take time to reflect on how you experience these interconnections to enhance your consciousness.


For an an understanding of the intent and context this blog post, please visit the blog series introduction.

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Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate!


If you are still breathing, you must drink water. Our bodies consist of approximately 60% liquid by weight. Interestingly, that’s much like the Earth (by volume)! I read it’s possible to go without food for three weeks, but only three to five days without water. Let’s hope no one has to test that. So while we have it, let’s drink it.


Water is life. It is where life started and it is how life is sustained. By drinking enough water you sustain your own life by lubricating your circulatory system to deliver oxygen and glucose to muscles and your brain and to expel waste (CO2, lactic acid, and others). It also helps to regulate weight and allows your nervous system to function efficiently (the negative ions of sodium conduct electricity - ergo 'electrolytes'), and of course helps to maintain your homeostatic temperature system by expelling heat through its evaporation off of your skin (i.e. ‘sweat') .

There are so many other things water does for you, but I think it’s obvious how important it is. In short, water is as essential for your life as oxygen is.


Consider this:

Quality. There’s tap water, alkaline water, oxygenated water, soda water, and the list goes on. Any of those listed here count. Whatever water you’re drinking just make sure it’s clean enough to drink. And if it’s something other than water, then recognize there are other concerns, such as sugar, alcohol and caffeine intake (the last two actually dehydrate you).

Quantity. The Mayo Clinic recommends that women should drink on average 2.7 litres per day, while men should drink 3.7. In hotter weather (dry or humid) you may need to drink even more. Recognise it is possible to intake too much water, knocking your electrolyte balance off, which can make you fairly sick (otherwise known as “hyponatremia”). Make sure to include a suitable amount of electrolytes (potassium from bananas, sodium from salts, etc.) in your diet, especially when you if you exercise a lot or are in hot environments where you sweat out these important elements from your system.

Sources of water do include various foods (e.g. fruits, vegetables, pasta and some animal proteins) as well as other liquids (broths, milk, tea, etc).

When. In the morning first thing – you’ve been breathing all night but likely not drinking any water. You’re dehydrated. Then throughout the day, every 15 minutes or so and some before meals (not directly after when the water can’t be readily absorbed). Sometimes when we feel hungry, it is actually the mistaken need to hydrate.

How. It may seem difficult to make sure you drink upwards of 4 litres per day (for men), but if you make a habit of taking your reusable BPA-free friend with you everywhere you go and taking a swig every 15 minutes, you will find that you will have reached your goal by the end of the day.

My approach:












- I love water, period. Living in Singapore, I miss the cool, nourishing feeling I get when I swim in a clear mountain lake. But drinking water is really important nonetheless!

- I use a simple Brita filter at my place as I rent the unit I live in. If I owned the unit, I’d put in a more permanent filtration system.

- I take my reusable bottle everywhere I go. It’s about 1L large and I drink about 2 bottles worth of water from that and water from other sources (at meals and from other non-liquid sources).

- That same bottle sits in front of me at home almost constantly and I have it next to me as I sleep in case I wake up thirsty.

Conclusion:

If you’re not drinking enough water with the right electrolyte balance, you won’t function well physically, emotionally, mentally or spiritually. Yet somehow many of us do not think to drink until we are dehydrated, impacting our ability to respond optimally to the environment around us. Find your own path to proper hydration. Note that it may require some initial effort.

References / Reading:


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