Health information for people on the move, because “What you don’t know could kill you!”
Over the next few months, summer fun will be everywhere. There are always many planned and unplanned activities both indoors and outdoors requiring physical exertion.
The average person looks upon summer as a special time of activity and relaxation. Summer’s hot dry days and cool nights contribute to increased activity and should also compel us to modify routine behaviors slightly. I’m sure you’re asking “How and Why” at this point. But before answering, here is a trivia question to ponder.
What do Humans, Bags of Water, and Evaporative Cooling have in Common?
The human body, with all its component structures, organs, muscles, bones, skin, hair, brain and eyes, is made up of approximately 70% water. That’s right our skin has a two-fold job: 1. Keeping all our internal parts from readily drying out and 2. getting rid of our excess heat in the summer (in colder climates/winter months, retaining that heat to keep us warm).
Do any of you warrior-class geeks know where the “humans are walking bags of water” quote came from?
Essentially, since 70% of our mass is water wrapped in skin, we resemble bags of water. Unfortunately, we often don’t fully appreciate the capabilities of this human mechanism until it’s been compromised.
Believe it or not, humans are also walking evaporative coolers
That’s right; our skin’s second job of keeping us cool is accomplished through evaporative cooling. Although our thermostat resides in the base of our brain, the skin actually controls heat loss. It does this through evaporation. Evaporation occurs when sweat/moisture/water along with our body’s heat dissipate into the air around us.
Even in cold climates, moisture evaporates from our skin. However, that process is affected by relative humidity and environmental temperature. This means we need to drink more water to maintain optimal health. Note that I said water! Not soda pop, alcohol, or even juices; they all have properties that make them considerably less desirable for replenishing your body’s lost water.
So, here’s the “How”
Starting now, drink more water throughout the day. If thirst is what usually compels you to drink water, you are already behind the curve. Routinely drink water before beginning physical exertion, during if possible, and certainly after.