As soon as I wake up, I know it’s raining. I can hear it on the patio roof, clicking like hundreds of tiny hammers tapping metal. I get up and fling the patio doors wide open so I can breathe in the relief of the garden.
The ground seems to be singing with joy; the plants pick up their heads and look skyward in silent thanks. In this land of little rain, these few hours of drizzle are like pennies from heaven.
Like the dry earth, we need water. Dehydration can cause headaches, dizziness, confusion or even shallow, rapid breathing. Virtually every part of the human body and all of its processes need hydration in order to function optimally.
Our blood is an incredible 92% water, while lean muscle is 73% water. Even our bones are 25% water. It is the primary component of secretions such as tears, saliva and gastric fluid. Without water, the body is unable to repair itself, lubricate itself or feed itself.
When we are well-hydrated, toxins are diluted and flushed, our body temperature is regulated, and vital nutrients are transported easily in the freely circulating blood. Even slight dehydration can cause sodium levels in the body to rise; the blood becomes more viscous and the kidneys slow excretion.
At this stage, the brain triggers the sensation of thirst. Feeling mildly thirsty is a warning sign that many of us ignore until it’s more urgent, but even mild thirst is an indicator that you are already depleted by approximately one pint.
Daily Recommendations for Water Intake
The recommended daily serving of eight to 12 8-oz. glasses of water may seem extreme, but in truth this only meets our minimum daily requirement. If you are participating in any aerobic exercise, your need for fluids will be greatly increased, and you should consume an additional one to three cups of water per hour of exercise.
Many fruits and vegetables contain a high percentage of water by volume. Cucumbers, tomatoes and watermelons are obvious choices, containing more than 90% water, but broccoli, carrots and grapes are also high in water content.
In just a few hours, the soil in my garden has become dark from the late-summer soaking. The plants, resupplied with water, look turgid and upright, their energy regained. We are a part of nature, not apart from it – so on this humid, rainy day, I’m going for a walk to delight in the gift of water. I may even dance in the rain.
Image credit: Heather via Flickr (CC)