By Jessie Renew, Outside Hilton Head
Living in a coastal town like Hilton Head Island offers the opportunity to access the beach and the ocean on a regular basis. The interaction with this vast scenery contributes to the generally improved health of people who live on the coast. Water, from its macro form in shaping oceans and rivers, to its micro level as an essential element in all of our lives, is the earth’s best substance.
About 71 percent of the earth is covered with water. Over 96 percent of that is the salty ocean. Other than the saline water in the ocean, the largest volume of surface water on earth is held in glaciers and ice caps, which make up about 70 percent. Another 30 percent of the earth’s freshwater is held in ground water and aquifers, leaving just over one percent of the planet’s freshwater to make up the rivers, lakes, fjords, bayous, wetlands, streams, ponds, lagoons, springs, channels, canals and puddles.
Working on the water as a kayak guide and spending most of my childhood on and around boats, I have often witnessed the happiness and relaxation that comes with simply getting out on the water. There are few feelings better than the pleasant fatigue following a fun day of boating, kayaking, paddle boarding or hanging out at the beach.
While few studies have been conducted to study the particular effects of looking at water on stress reduction, the act of observing sea life at aquariums has been proven to reduce human stress. In fact, the greater variety of sea life offered to participants to watch, the greater stress reduction they experienced. Getting out on the water is a great way to get exercise, and it’s also one of the most potent stress reduction techniques known to science.
We all know that drinking water is essential to optimal health, but few people know the full range of ways that water works to sustain the human body. Many essential bodily functions depend on water in order to operate, such as digestion, absorption, circulation, creation of saliva, transportation of nutrients and maintenance of body temperature. Luckily, unless you are taking certain medications, your kidneys should communicate with your brain to trigger a feeling of thirst.
It’s important to avoid alcohol when you’re thirsty because it interferes with kidney-brain communication. Drinking lots of water helps you lose weight by replacing higher-calorie beverages with calorie-free H2O. Water is essential to exercise as well, because it keeps muscles plump and prevents muscle collapse and fatigue. Other benefits are shown in skin hydration, kidney function and release of toxins.
In June, celebrate water and enjoy its benefits by kayaking or boating. Get outside this month, and be sure to stay hydrated!
To book an outing with Outside Hilton Head, call (843) 686-6996.