In legend, it’s the never-ending quest for immortality. In religion, it’s holy, ritualistic, a gift from God. In science, it’s the essential building block of all life. It’s water.

Our connection to water is innate. On the outside, water covers 71% of the plant. Internally, the average human body is 60% water. It’s astonishing that a single substance composed of only three atoms— H2O— can be so significant on a universal level. So, it should come as no surprise that water comes with a host of benefits, from drinking it to simply being around it.

Regulates Our Body

Probably the most scientific, and obvious, benefit of water is how it helps us function.

The USGS reports that we are literally made up of water. Our brain and heart are 73%; lungs 83%; skin 64%; muscles and kidneys 79%; and even our bones are 31%. All of these numbers add to the way water regulates our body.

It aids in digestion, regulates body temperature, is a natural lubricant that protects our organs and tissues, carries nutrients and oxygen to our cells, flushes bacteria, and maintains a healthy electrolyte (sodium balance). 

TIP: Add natural flavors to water, like lemon, cucumber, or oranges to give it a more refreshing taste.

Fights Anxiety

Our natural world is filled with color, dominated by ocean blues and trees of greens. As a result, our brains have formed a connection to the colors associated with the environment. Studies in the past have focused on the power of green— oftentimes recommending plants as a way to stay happy— but recently the research dives into the hues of blue.

In 2019, British researchers at BlueHealth looked into aquatic living in-depth by “linking environment, climate, and health.” The study focused on those living in England’s poorer communities, but discovered that people who live near a body of water have better overall mental health.

Water environments have less pollution in the air, more sunlight from less trees, quieter living, and we don’t feel as landlocked.

Simply being around bodies of blue (lakes, rivers, oceans, etc) provides a restorative and calming effect, which fights anxiety and other mental health disorders. Unlike its green counterparts, waterscapes involve subconscious concentration. The motion of the water, natural sounds of its movement (think ripples or waves breaking), the instantaneous changing colors within. All of this contributes to an innate sense of calm. 

Further, a study by researchers found that the natural mirror in water has a mystifying sensation. We perceive incomplete reflections and fill in the gaps in our minds, which causes us to focus and imagine.

Mind-Body Connection

A Harvard medical study recommends that the average, healthy person drink four-to-six cups of water a day for optimal brain and body function. Regular water intake fights headaches, replenishes our body after sweating (whether it be working out or from a hot day), can ward off tiredness, and improve mood and memory.

But water sports, in particular, play a unique role in how water affects us. Unlike actives on land, those done in the water cause our brain to focus on factors beyond our movement— wind, tide, waves, motion. All of it transitions us from a purely instinctual, physical state to one of conscious thought and evaluation.

It turns out, the fountain of youth does exist (kind of). The water inside and all around us can keep us young, healthy, and happier. So, maybe the legend was onto something after all.

The weekly wellness series is in partnership with James Lane Post, an East End experience

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