From the time I was a small child until somewhere in my high school years, I remember walking with my grandfather to a little creek that flowed through a pasture at the far back side of his property. It was a long but pleasant walk to the creek and on summer days with the temperature reaching into the 90’s we were hot and tired by the time we reached it. Just on the other side of the fence was a spot where the water came out of the ground and made a shallow pool a few inches deep and then flowed on down the narrow creek bed.
The bottom of the creek was lined with rocks made smooth by the ice cold, fast flowing water. On the bank stood the stump of a small tree about 4 feet tall and on a piece of wood that stuck up from the trunk someone had placed a drinking glass. At the end of each trip we made through the woods and across the field we would stop in the shade at the head of the creek and dip the glass into the water. We never thought about germs then, we just rinsed out any leaves that might be stuck to the sides of the glass and enjoyed the fresh, cold water. It was probably as pure as the water we now buy in bottles and provided a much more exciting experience! We could drink several glasses each before walking on, not aware then of the importance of this natural resource to our bodies and our health.
Over half of the human body is made up of water! It keeps our blood flowing properly and carries nutrients to every individual cell. It helps our skin stay smooth and prevents premature wrinkles. Impurities are filtered out of vital organs and expelled from the body through the blood stream. If we do not have enough fluids our entire body suffers.
Dehydration occurs when there is a lack of fluids in the body and can be detected through some obvious symptoms: excessive thirst, fatigue, dry skin, headache, dizziness, rapid heartbeat and labored breathing. If these symptoms continue they can lead to more severe problems and when left untreated can cause loss of consciousness, kidney failure and even death. Drinking water is more important than you might have thought!
The amount of fluids we need to take in depends on the amount of physical activity we exert each day and also on each person’s individual size. When working outside on hot days be sure and take a water break frequently, replacing the moisture lost through sweat. Any time the temperature rises or the air is dry, more water is needed to maintain a good fluid level. The amount of fluids necessary, listed per pound of body weight can be found in an article on MedicineNet.com.
A high fever due to the flu, virus or other illness can cause the body to lose fluids. A drink that replenishes the electrolites is necessary to prevent more serious symptoms. Smoking, drinking alcohol and caffeine deplete fluids and work against the body’s effort to be strong and healthy. It takes extra work to reverse the damage that is done by either of these.
There are other drinks that are beneficial in keeping the body hydrated besides water. Lemonade, decaf tea and juice count toward a good daily fluid intake as well as eating fruits and vegetables. Take a look at the food and drinks that you consume daily and see if you are getting enough fluids. If not, you may need to replace some of them with better choices. You will feel better, look healthier and have more energy when you take care of your body!
Psalm 139:14 I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.