Hydration = Healthy Hands

Wouldn’t it be great if there was some magic elixir that you could drink to avoid aches and pains? That would allow you to think more clearly and have more energy?
Guess what? There is. Water.
Our bodies are made up of over 70% water. It keeps all the marvelous mechanisms of our body functioning smoothly; this includes keeping muscle tissue healthy and resistant to cramping or other pain inducing problems that lead to hand, arm, shoulder, neck and overall body pain when crocheting.

We need to replenish water regularly because we lose so much during the day, and with summer’s hot temperatures, we lose it even faster. As the weather warms up, be sure to drink enough water. You may have heard before that a person can survive for several weeks without food and only a few days without water, but did you know that even mild dehydration can cause muscle cramps, headaches and fatigue? Many things can affect the amount of water your body loses: the climate in which you live, how much you exercise, the weather on any given day, and even the clothing you wear. For women, pregnancy, lactation, or other hormonal effects can impact water loss. If you are sick with the flu or a cold, or have allergies, you could be losing water at a faster rate than usual.

Don’t wait until you are thirsty to enjoy a glass of water. You are already 2% dehydrated by the time your body tells you it is thirsty. Even low dehydration levels like this can affect your well-being, especially if you are regularly dehydrated at this level. The simple act of consuming a glass of water every couple of hours could be your greatest weapon as a preventative for disease and pain.
How much water should you be drinking? The standard recommendation is 8 cups (2 quarts) of water a day. This, of course, doesn’t take into account the variety of body sizes and types that people have. A more individualized formula is to divide your weight in pounds by 2. The result is the minimum number of ounces you should be consuming each day. If you are involved in strenuous exercise or notice that you continue to feel thirsty, that amount should be increased. You can also get some of your water needs from the food you eat.  It is currently recommended that up to 20% your daily fluid intake come from food.  Water-rich foods include soups, smoothies, fruits, and vegetables. Space your water consumption evenly throughout the day. It can help to have water containers that contain the minimum amount of water you need to drink. Fill them up each morning, and keep them handy as you go through your day’s activities. If you want to get a more detailed estimate for how much water you should drink, check out the Hydration Calculator at http://nutrition.about.com/library/blwatercalculator.htm.

Drinking lots of soda and/or coffee is not a substitute for drinking water. In fact, carbonated beverages and caffeine act as diuretics, meaning that they actually pull water OUT of your body. Caffeine becomes a problem especially if consumed in large quantities; if you really must have that cup of coffee or can of soda, make sure you balance it out by drinking an extra 8 ounces of water. Alcoholic beverages also need to be balanced with water consumption. The main reason alcohol causes a headache is because it dehydrates the body. Those who wear contact lenses can testify to the drying effects of even one glass of wine.

How can you drink that much water if you don’t like the taste of it? Adding non-sugared fruit juices, even 1 tablespoon in 8 ounces of it, can really improve the taste. Cool water generally tastes better as well and is more easily absorbed by the body.

And the big question: won’t you have to go to the bathroom more frequently if you drink all that water? Yes, and that is a good thing. A large percentage of the water we drink helps our bodies to remove toxins. If you don’t drink enough water and use the bathroom every 2-3 hours, those toxins stay in your body.
So the next time you sit down to crochet, keep a drink of water nearby and sip from it regularly. Your hands will be happier, and who knows? You may be able to tackle that complicated pattern that’s been frustrating you for so long.

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