Healthy Living Blog

Water. Friend or Foe?

I have a love-fear relationship with water. When diving into the sea at Rangitoto with the aim of surviving the almost five kilometres to St Heliers, the motivation was mostly respect, fear, and the overwhelming desire to arrive safely at the other side.

Indeed, no matter what our racial background, our ancient ancestors had to navigate and survive the unpredictable moods of the sea to survive and arrive here in Aotearoa. Global warming has since delivered to us an entirely new perspective on both the importance and hazards of water. Twelve months ago, there was a water shortage. Then by contrast the torrents and floods of last weekend. Almost every Club Physical member had a story to share at reception.

Our responsible challenge at hand is to help, encourage, find, and innovate ways to reverse the impact and damage that we have jointly and unknowingly made on our planet. Both here and overseas.

In the meantime, it is important to remember that your body itself is almost 70% water. Even your brain is 75% water. Every cell of your body and there are 37 ‘trillion’ cells, needs water to work properly. But ‘how much’ you ask?  Eight glasses a day would be a worthy goal for most people. You can often accomplish this simply by drinking each time you feel slightly thirsty. Yet, if you EXERCISE and sweat, you will need to take in extra water to balance this.  And that means before, during, and after your session.

Any athlete, bodybuilder, martial artist, or wrestler will tell you how fast your body weight can change as a result of water loss. There’s good reason to stay hydrated during your workouts, as a loss of just 1-2% of your body weight will decrease your strength, speed, and focus. No one wants this. Remember also that sweat contains electrolytes. This includes a significant amount of sodium as well as small amounts of potassium, calcium, and magnesium. So, it is recommended that you drink electrolyte-enhanced water when you exercise.

Yes, it pays to have a healthy respect for the hazards of water, but also for its protection and water’s role in preserving our planet. And since your body is mostly ‘water’, it would also pay to also have a healthy respect for your personal water needs as you work to build and preserve your own health and fitness.

– Paul Richards

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