It’s summer here in the northern hemisphere and I wanted to share some interesting facts about dehydration. And for all my friends down under in the land of Oz, you can still dehydrate even in the winter! If you are not drinking enough water, you might be wilting from the inside out. Drinking enough of this critical element is a requirement for sustaining your leadership edge.
In North America, it’s so common and widely available, it’s importance is often overlooked. Unfortunately, as you know all too well, not everyone has easy access to this life-giving elixir. That’s why you should seriously consider donating to any of a number of non-profits whose mission is to provide pure, clean drinking water. Two organizations that I know you can trust: The Water Project and Charity Water. Links are in the show notes. Get involved!
We dramatically underestimate the energy and power that results from consuming water. Let me give you a little backdrop here. I’m a bit over-the-top with regard to my fitness level. My diet isn’t crazy, but my exercise routine is as consistent as anyone I know. I’m pretty hard-core about maintaining my level of activity. So like any good athlete, I know how important diet and hydration are to my performance.
So, I knew about drinking eight 8 oz glasses of water every day. And I was a bit over the top here subscribing more to the “half-your-body-weight in ounces” daily. So for me, I’m drinking 85-90 ounces per day…you do the math. I thought I understood this pretty well.
Growing up in the snow-covered western U.S., I knew that you could dehydrate in winter. That doesn’t make sense, right?! How can you dehydrate in winter? Well, there are several contributing factors, but one of the major ones is that you still sweat when you are active in winter and unlike summer, you probably weren’t nearly as well hydrated before you started the activity (because it’s winter and you don’t “feel” as thirsty).
Well, your body still needs water. and you can lose a lot of water through the surface of your skin as you sweat. Anyway, I knew all of this and I was pretty conscientious about drinking a lot of water. Maybe that sounds a lot like you. So far, I might not have said anything new or anything that you haven’t heard before.
My good friend, Bryan Paul Buckley gave me a little Energy Edge coaching and recommended that I start each morning with at least 20 oz of water. As soon as I get up, get dressed and get ready to head out, I ALWAYS drink that 20 oz of water before doing anything else. You can find a great article on his website about hydration here
And you know what? It works. It has an immediate effect. You might think “I can’t function without coffee first thing in the morning.” I dare you to try this and see if it doesn’t help. Literally, I can feel the difference and I’ve been doing this for about a year now (so thanks Bryan for the great advice). I still drink coffee but I don’t need it to stay alert. Water and sleep get the credit for that.
Two things happened recently that reminded me of the importance of this: first, a coworker in the company that I work for had a heart-attack and died last summer in Australia. The autopsy revealed that dehydration was a primary contributor. This individual worked outside, in the heat, and knew about the dangers. He wasn’t ignorant, but even with his knowledge, caught a bad break.
Second, I had a conversation with a gent named Wes who does pool repairs and maintenance in Phoenix, Arizona. He was telling me about how folks come down to the area and think they are going to go for a hike and they have one of those little plastic 16oz bottles of water on them. He kind of laughs because that doesn’t last long in 100+ degree heat! The rule in Arizona is you hike until half your water is gone and then you turn around and head back to the car.
Lots of people have died there because of dehydrating after running out of water. So he took me out to his truck and showed me this bottle that he picked up called a LifeStraw. It will filter the nastiest water and make it drinkable in an emergency. He always carries one. Wes said he’s used it multiple times with hose water when he got caught without water on him. Remember how you used to drink water from a garden hose when you were little? Yeah, don’t do that, okay?!
This is where it got interesting: he said that you can start to tell when you are in a bad spot. The first thing is that your thinking gets cloudy and then you start to have trouble with your words. Like you can’t talk clearly or you can’t say what you are thinking. That’s a little scary. He said the most important thing you can do at that moment is to stop exertion, find a cool spot, and take in liquids – preferably water.
Then, I came across this interesting post at work about water consumption and I thought I have to share this! Here are five compelling statistics when it comes to water consumption and its effect on humans:
- 75% of Americans are chronically dehydrated (likely half of the world population is dehydrated)
- Lack of water is the #1 trigger of daytime fatigue
- A mere 2% drop in body water can trigger fuzzy short-term memory, trouble with basic math, and difficulty focusing on the computer screen or on a printed page
- Drinking five glasses of water daily decreases the risk of colon cancer by 45%, plus it can slash the risk of breast cancer by 79%, and one is 50% less likely to develop bladder cancer
- Preliminary research indicates that 8-10 glasses of water a day could significantly ease back and joint pain for up to 80% of sufferers.
This is one area that you can change today with minimal effort. Start your day with 20oz of water and make sure you are drinking at least (8) eight-ounce glasses daily. It’s going to make a difference and will help you sustain the energy required to be an effective leader.
Resources Mentioned In This Episode:
Bryan Paul Buckley’s website
Bryan’s article titled The Watered Down Truth About Hydration
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