Growing up, my hockey coaches were influential in helping me think of my body as a machine. Sport is a wonderful lens through which too look at chemical balances in the body and how it harnesses chemical gradients to function, build, and repair. By engaging in physical activity, organized and rigorous or casual, I can experiment to see what happens to my body under various stressful conditions. A nominal factor that is always reflected in my physical and mental performance is the ability to stay hydrated.
Returning to the metaphor of the body as a machine, I used to think of water in the body like the oil in a car. It wasn’t until I began to explore biochemistry that I realised that when it comes to chemical reactions in the body, every reaction involves water in one way or another. That is where all those vague catch-phrases might come from, the ones stating the body is a specific percentage of water ranging anywhere from 60% to 98%. What use are those figures to us anyway, except simply to encourage us to pay attention to our state of hydration?
I am a strong advocate of being present-minded, acutely aware of all factors internal to me and available to me in my environment. If, for instance, you wait until your mouth is dry and your body is craving water, dehydration is already in effect and it will take time and energy for the body to reabsorb water, time during which the body is not at its best.
When I think about hydration as it applies to the world around me, it seems that there is no correct quantity of water to drink and we should focus on monitoring what our body needs as it is needed. That said, there is absolutely a correct quality of water.
Some important qualities of water: purity, taste, temperature, and proximity.
Purity - If my body needs water, I need it to be the cleanest water I can find; the molecule I need is H2O, leave out all the other junk, please.
Taste - I also need the water to taste good because taste is one of my body’s ways of telling me I’m doing something positive for it (and it would make sense that pure water tastes the best anyway).
Temperature - I need the water to be at the right temperature so my body can absorb it efficiently and quench the thirst or dryness I am feeling.
Proximity - Lastly, I need the water to be accessible wherever I am living and especially where I am working. Ready access to it is the key to consistently functioning at maximum potential.
Therein lays the privilege of working for Aqua Valley: great water is always nearby. Every day as I am leaving to deliver water, I top up my hockey-style water bottle with clean, cold water. My job is very physical, and I find that sipping water consistently through the day not only keeps thirst at bay, but ensures that my joints are working well with my muscles to avoid injury and excessive wear and tear. By swapping out coffee in the morning in favour of tea (less caffeine, a dehydrating diuretic), and keeping hydrated, I find my mind is clearer as well. The most enjoyable aspect of my job is delivering a quality product to people who need it. The go-getters in this world know that there is no substitute for the best when it comes to stuff we put in our bodies. Water is essential to human life, and I enjoy being a part of transporting it to where it is needed.
By: Josh Fraser