“Water, water everywhere/Nor any drop to drink”
Written 220 years ago, this famous line from Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s epic poem The Rime of the Ancient Mariner expresses the plea of a sailor who, surrounded by salt water, finds himself unable to quench his thirst. Hydration has always been the key to a healthy life, and this Saturday, June 23, is National Hydration Day, a day to remind us that we have to continually replenish the fluids and electrolytes we lose every day, especially during the long hot days of summer.
Whether you’re an athlete, a casual exerciser, or someone who simply loves to spend time outside in the sun, drinking water is key to avoiding heat stroke, dehydration, or dry mouth that can lead to the accumulation of dangerous (and odor-producing) bacteria. (Don’t forget to clean your tongue daily with your TUNG Brush and Gel to keep those bacteria in check too!)
Interestingly enough, National Hydration Day was created in honor of late football coach Victor Hawkins, who invented a special hydrating mouthguard to keep his players healthy on the field. He recognized how dehydrated his players could become during the course of practice or a game, and created a device that released electrolytes while protecting the players’ mouths.
So, how do I celebrate National Hydration Day? Drink a lot of water?
Yes, of course, drinking a lot of water (at least eight 8-ounce glasses a day is recommended) is ideal, but how about these ideas:
- Share #NationalHydrationDay on social media to increase awareness.
- Set reminders to hydrate during the day: you can use sticky notes, apps or alarms.
- Infuse your water with flavor: if you get bored with “just plain H2O”, how about infusing some fresh flavor into it? You can infuse a bottle or a pitcher with cucumber slices, lemon wedges, or strawberries.
- Remind your family and friends that you care about their health and that you need them to stay hydrated too!
What about electrolytes?
Electrolytes, which include sodium, potassium, chloride and bicarbonate, help regulate nerve and muscle function. Therefore, having electrolytes in the right concentrations is important in maintaining the fluids in your body. You may know that your electrolyte balance is out of whack, for example, if after exercising your legs cramp. Cramping isn’t always caused by electrolyte imbalance, but it can be one of the simplest ways to know you need some electrolyte replenishment. Electrolytes in the body are analogous to the motor oil in your car…it doesn’t MAKE the motor run, but it makes it run more smoothly. Electrolytes make the water you drink more efficient. So, especially if you are losing a lot of fluids during these summer days, be sure to include an electrolyte-infused drink into your hydration routine.
So, this Saturday (and every day), get out there and enjoy all of the activities that summer brings! Don’t be that ancient sailor, though…Don’t forget your water bottles and remember to tell your friends and family that you are enjoying #NationalHydrationDay. 😊