Fatigue, constipation, moodiness and irritability are commonly felt over the holiday season and when traveling.  Although the holidays are mostly considered a joyous time of year, physically, mentally and emotionally our bodies can really take a beating. We have tendencies to eat foods that are not typical to our normal daily routine, consume more alcoholic, sugary, caffeinated or fatty beverages, sleep less, stress more, and exercise less. All of which can lead to significant stress on many of our bodies systems such as the nervous, circulatory and digestive systems which can affect our muscles and movement.

Water is the main source of life. The fact is that our human bodies are 75% water, our brains 60%. Almost every bodily function is dependent on the efficient flow of water through our system. Think of water as the “highway” and everything we put into our bodies as the cars. The nutrients in food, medications, and the chemicals produced due to daily reactions are all reliant on the quality of the flow in the transportation system that is the fluid of our bodies. Yet we do not store water. So we need to replace it on a daily basis or we go into “drought management” which is our bodies way of doling out water to the most important parts and then the others suffer. We know the heart is the pump that is necessary to direct the flow and delivery of oxygen rich blood. But we know that if the pipes get clogged up the pump will not be as efficient or effective.

Coffee, soda, and juice can NOT replace water. The amount of water we need to consume does vary from person to person based on many factors.  However, caffeinated beverages tend to pull water out of the body and therefore you output more than you input. So continue to enjoy your one cup of coffee but know that drinking another cup of water will help offset the effects. Generally trying to maintain around 60 ounces of water throughout the day can help maintain the bodies need for fluid. Sipping throughout the day is better than gulping or “fluid loading” all at once. If you have a tendency to wake up several times throughout the night to urinate this can disrupt your bodies need for sleep so try stopping fluid intake 2 hours prior to bed.

Just like breathing, water is essential to a healthy and happy lifestyle. So don’t forget to give yourself a simple, inexpensive gift every day, the gift of water.

By Denise Nichols, OTR/L, PRPC, BCB-PMD