Summer is here, meaning the outdoor activities and sun are strong in Colorado! As the heat and adventure settle in, it’s more important than ever to make sure you are ready for all that is ahead. June 23rd marks National Hydration Day, which reminds us to replace fluids lost through our daily activities. Water is essential for all life on Earth; 71% of our planet is covered in water and even our bodies are made up of mostly water (60%). Water is a key element in a majority of our body parts, therefore it is of utmost importance we keep our supply full. Water makes up 73% of the brain and heart, and about 83% of the lungs. The skin is comprised of 64% water, and muscles and kidneys contain 79%, even our bones are 31% water.
As we reach for our water bottles and take in a sip of H20, what exactly is it doing for us? Not only does it quench our thirst, but it goes on a long journey through our bodies, serving multiple essential functions to keep our bodies thriving. Our cells, the fundamental building blocks of all organisms, are full of water. Without it, they would not be able to grow, reproduce, or survive. Water regulates our internal temperature by causing our body to sweat and respire. The carbohydrates and proteins that our bodies use as food would be useless without water, which metabolizes and transports these necessary components for survival (digestion). Of equal importance is the ability of water to transport harmful material out of our bodies. No matter how healthy we may seem, heat stroke and dehydration can sneak up on us, especially during the summer. Despite knowing the facts of how beneficial water is for our health, it can still be a challenge to get your recommended daily intake (8 8oz glasses, or 2 liters). Here are some fun ways to encourage you to take in more water: use a water bottle marked with ounces to keep track of your daily progress; make infused waters with refreshing produce such as berries, lemon, cucumber, mint, etc. to add additional flavor; set reminders throughout the day to help you stay on track of your water consumption.
Of course, we are not the only species that need water to keep us healthy and thriving. Our natural landscape also needs an adequate amount of water to maintain its health and vitality. Most importantly, that water needs to be clean water. As healthy rivers flow, they bring water to our homes, they nourish ecosystems and create habitats for plants and wildlife. There are many things we can do to make sure Mother Earth stays hydrated along with us. We can be more mindful of what we put down our drains, remembering that these things don’t simply go away, but end up in our waters. Also, maintaining or planting more vegetation along stream banks prevents erosion, reduces sediments, filters runoff, and creates shade and habitat for wildlife.
Celebrating National Hydration Day is a great way to raise awareness not only for us as human beings who depend on water for our survival, but also for our environment. Water is a vital resource that helps keep people, plants, and animals healthy. So raise a glass, and cheers to a day created for celebrating our most important life line!
Iza Ruffino is a naturalist at WMSC in Avon and she enjoys sipping on coffee while walking through the wildflowers, looking for butterflies, and catching the sunset with all the woodland creatures.
Photo credit: Rick Spitzer