The human body is about 50 to 70 percent water – we constantly lose fluids from perspiration, urine and through our breath; and replace what we lose by eating and drinking.
During the summer months we’re frequently reminded how important it is to drink plenty of water (and all kinds of other drinks from tea to modulate brain efficiency to red wine for better gut health). Hydration orthodoxy recommends drinking a minimum 2 litres of water per day, or a minimum of 35ml of water per kilo of bodyweight, and more if exercising and sweating.
For athletes, the topic of thirst, hydration and dehydration is complex, with even more complex physiology, ever evolving science, technology, recommendations and advice.
It is proposed that thirst increases our sense of perceived effort, while dehydration increases the strain on our cardiovascular system; and it is important to maintain the body’s state of homeostasis as much as possible before, during and after exercise, to ensure you perform at your very best and recover adequately.
In terms of fluid balance, the goal prior to exercise is to have the body in its euhydrated state so you are sufficiently hydrated and able to perform at your absolute optimum, and not worry about hydration mid activity or finding a medical tent and IV drip post event.
The story of cyclist Taylor Phinney’s dropped water bottle at the World’s TT in 2013, that impacted his perceived sense of dehydration and performance in the final stages of the race, is an example of why we should stay ahead of thirst and not overthink when plans go wrong.
Instead of worrying about when and how much water to consume, it is important to understand why we should drink so much water, as opposed to tea or red wine or other liquids and fuels.
Water is the common name for dihydrogen monoxide or H2O. It is more than a substance, it’s a complex arrangement of molecules with a specific growth pattern.
Composed of two gases, hydrogen and oxygen. Water is the basic element of life.
A particular regularity, cooling, causes a more dense structure producing ice, a solid. If the molecular structure is heated it opens up and becomes a stream. Water is capable of being gaseous, liquid and solid. It is capable of being stored as energy, a gas, or liquid.
Water is able to assume a huge variety of forms
In his book, ‘Emotional Anatomy,’ Stanley Keleman says that the state of liquidity reveals the state of human life. An embryo or an infant is somewhat liquid-like, fragile yet flexible. Growth makes the organism more dense, stringy and solid. Death brings liquefaction and a gaseous state called decomposition.
In other words, water keeps us young.
Water, a structure of molecular geometry, is capable of electrification – generating a current, just as the rotational movements of the earth, the processes of heat, or the cold of space generate a current. These forces create various fluids, from bound water to gaseous water, from ice to gas, forming under proper temperatures an electrified fluid that has different properties.
Similarly, protoplasm flows and pulses; and the human body does the same, becoming muscle bound or flaccid. Fear and anger stiffen the organism; love and caring soften it.
Water transforms itself, making cells with boundaries that evolve further into blood, tissue fluids, lymph, sweat, urine, semen, vaginal fluids, spinal and joint fluids, exhaled water, digestive juices and hormones. These fluid mixtures are not free-flowing but are stored in cells, pouches, and bladders until expelled by powerful cell and muscle pulsations of hormones and enzymes manufacture and help stimulate these specialised fluids.
These fluids stimulate growth, produce energy, stimulation and connections – impacting performance and exhaustion, and they are responsible for our quality of life.
They facilitate biological, emotional, and psychological integration, and produce deep feelings and states of knowledge.
Emotions and feelings follow the rules of water
When we brace ourselves for shock or a blow or when we harden we confine pain, our liquid state is like ice.
When we melt with love or dissolve into tears, our feeling state is liquid.
Our visceral state gives rise to feelings of hunger, emptiness, yearning, longing, followed by satisfaction and fullness.
We emote and are a geyser or a river. We act like a tide or an ice flow. We cascade and stream. We cry and sob, sigh and moan emitting formed fluids.
These are the dynamic powers of water finding a way to transform itself into structures and thereby change itself.
We are a sea of liquids
Keleman identifies liquid life in the language of function: The flow of thought, the tides of feelings, the waves of intuition, the ocean depths of feelings, the waxing and waning of psyche. They are messengers that signal behaviour.
There’s so much more to water than we can imagine.
Keep hydrating and perform at your absolute optimum!