2009-07-03 / Columnists

Rockaway Walks Fitness Column

Number One Of The Top 10 Interventions For Managing Arthritis: Rehydrate
Commentary By Steven McCartney, IPO, HSW, MS

After facilitating many workshops for the Arthritis Foundation and the premiere of the 10 interventions in my NYIIFVF award-wining documentary "Arthritis up Close and Personal," I notice a common behavior. It is that people of all ages are not getting enough water due to the distractions from Arthritis. (One in three adults has a form of Arthritis and 300,000 children in America. New York State data for 2003; adults with diagnosed Arthritis is 3,937,000.) I compare it to having a toothache and you realize you eat less meat or hard foods until you go to have it fixed by a dentist. However, unlike a toothache your body cannot be without water for a long period before you feel the effects of dehydration (which occurs when the amount of water you lose is more than the amount you need). With dehydration comes stiffness and fatigue to muscles and joints. While the body can survive without food for about five weeks, the body cannot survive without water for longer than five days.

Health professionals know that the body is made up of almost two-thirds water. Let me list how important the role of water is in a healthy lifestyle and some of the things water does in the body:

Brain is 75 percent water. Moderate dehydration can cause headaches and dizziness;
• Water is required for breathing
• Regulates body temperature
• Carries nutrients and oxygen to all
cells in the body
• Blood is 92 percent water
• Moistens oxygen for breathing
• Protects and cushions vital organs
• Helps to convert food for vital organs
• Helps body absorb nutrients
• Removes waste
• Bones are 22 percent water
• Muscles are 75 percent water
• Cushions joints

There are three stages: Mild (where you can lose 3 percent to 5 percent of your body weight), Moderate (6 percent - 10 percent) and Severe (10 percent or more). Examples of lifestyle causes of dehydration: in the outside warmth (drink one or two extra 8- ounce servings of water); low humidity levels on airplanes (8-ounce serving of water every hour); the colder it gets the more energy the body requires to maintain 98.6 degree body temperature (drink extra water); flu can lead to dehydration (drink when sick); nursing mothers require three additional 8-ounce servings of water; and pregnancy increases need (drink 8 to 12, 8- ounce servings a day). If you're taking medication you need to increase water intake to keep the body flushed.

Re-hydrate is the way to prevent dehydration — drink as much as possible. This does not include pharmacological agents such as caffeine-containing fluids or alcohol (diuretics which cause water loss). Sources for rehydration: water, oral re-hydrating solutions that contain carbohydrates or electrolytes, soup, fruit and fruit juice, vegetables, herbal teas, flavored water (sliced apples) and squash.

Consult your doctor if you think you're not drinking enough fluids. Everyone can self test for dehydration. 1)Examine your urine. Clear or strawcolored urine denotes sufficient intake. Dark orange or yellow tint means waste is concentrated and so you should drink more, even if you don't feel thirsty. 2)Lightly pinch a soft area of skin, such as the back of your hand, and if it doesn't return to its normal position quickly then it is likely that you are dehydrated.

You can Google hydration calculator to see if you intake enough water for you activities.

My last concern is our water source taste, odor, color, and turbidity (particles per milliliter) These are the criteria used to rate quality of water. Keep up with news issues on plastic bottles and contaminated water.

For questions or concerns E-mail: steven_mccartney@walkprograms.com or come out to Beach 11 Street every Saturday at 8 a.m. until June 12, 2009 for the ROCKAWAY WALKS fitness program. Tip #1: Bring your water. Rehydrate.

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