Personal Note: I went to an event this weekend that involved a lot of walking around in warm weather. A trend started appearing as the day got later; some people were acting sluggish and weak. As it so happens, most of the people that were acting this way hadn’t brought water with them.
“What’s so important about water?”
Water is a fundamental part of life. The internet has arguments about how much water is in the human body. However, water.usgs.gov actually breaks down the percentages of water in our organs:
- 60% of the human body is water
- Brain and Heart are 73%
- Lungs are 83%
- Skin is 64%
- Muscles and Kidneys are 79%
- Bones are 31%
Taking these percentages into consideration, it’s easy to see that dehydration could be problem, especially since we urinate and sweat frequently throughout the day. Blood also requires a good supply of water to keep flowing and to take nutrients to our body’s systems.
Dehydration occurs when our intake of water isn’t enough to keep our body functioning properly. Our body slows down to conserve the water in our system. However, many working class individuals just push through and keep working, without ever thinking to take a sip of water.
Wherever you are, look for these signs of dehydration in yourself and in the people around you. Look for:
- Dark-colored urine (This is for yourself. Urine should be as clear as water. Without water it can be a murky yellowish color.)
- Thirst (The simplest sign that your body needs water is thirst.)
Emedicinehealth.com lists the more drastic signs:
- Dry Mouth / Skin
- Extreme Fatigue
- Decreased Urination (The body will try to hold in the water it has already.)
If the individual with these symptoms doesn’t get water, these signs can occur:
- Drop in Blood Pressure
- Increased, but weak Heart Rate
- Abnormal Dizziness
Your body will start to shut down after 3 days without water.
“How much should we drink?”
Personal Note: This is one of biggest questions I have in my office. And there are several opinions on this issue. Do we drink 8 times out of an 8 ounce glass a day (64 ounces total)? Should we drink throughout the day? Do we only drink when we’re thirsty?
Another popular belief is that we should drink half of our body weight in ounces. I weigh about 150lbs. If I were to follow this rule, I would have to drink 75 ounces of water a day. Holy smokes, that’s more than the 8 x 8 ounces rule!
So, how much water should we drink? Authority Nutrition has a brief explanation on our water intake:
Personal Note: During a Massage Appointment, I can tell if a person is dehydrated if I leave hand prints on their skin and the mark stays there for more than a few seconds. This can happen with a light touch. It’s also easy to tell because the skin can be clammy feeling, depending on the individual on the table.
Therapists don’t immediately start with deep tissue massage because the muscles must be warmed up first. As soon as I put my hands on the skin, then lift them, I can tell if I need to adjust the pressure in the session. If the person is dehydrated, I use less pressure, because a dehydrated body can’t handle a lot.
Also, there’s a theory about water “flushing your system of toxins” after a massage. This theory was taught to me as a student in massage school, but there’s no scientific evidence of this. Rather, it is good to drink after a massage, to wake up your body and to rehydrate.