“The human body is a self-healing machine, and it doesn’t waste time. Skin is crushed or split or cut, and blood immediately rushes to the site, the red cells scabbing and knitting a fibrous matrix to bind the parted edges together, the white cells seeking out and destroying germs and pathogens below. The process is underway within minutes, and it lasts as many hours or days as are necessary to return the skin to its previous unbroken integrity. . . .”
Lee Child, The Affair, at 89 (Delacorte Press, 2011)
The water in our bodies (which makes up about two-thirds of our body weight, by the way), is something we honor mostly by ignoring it. We notice that we sweat. We drink water, and get thirsty again when we row. We are aware that our heart rates go up when we exercise, pumping blood more forcefully through the body. But we pay little attention to (and understand less about) what the water moving throughout our bodies does and how it affects our health.
Water functions in the body not just as a material that fills the skin to give us shape; as an active medium, it helps essential processes function effectively. Water in the blood carries red blood cells, delivering oxygen to the muscles. It also carries the many nutrients, hormones, toxins and waste chemicals either dissolved in plasma or other fluids or otherwise carried by the water and held in position by the water so that cell membranes and other interfaces in the body can work their magic to maintain healthy chemical balances.
Imagine the body as a physical structure. If a pipe or hose is blocked, the flow of water through it slows or stops and the functions that depend on the flow are affected. If a stream or aqueduct dries up, minerals may crystallize and harden. If flow is slow rather than rapid along a river bed or channel, chemicals may accumulate in sediments, such as next to dams or other obstructions. If the water level of a lake goes down, the shoreline dries up and the remainder of the lake may become a different environment.
If the action and inaction of water in the body can have effects like these examples, then heightened flow of bodily fluids during exercise may also enhance the healthy functioning of the body. That is especially so if, in a body at rest, the flow of water in the body is less than complete, does not reach all extremities or does not move with the force or volume needed to promote optimum health. To have the water (blood, plasma, lymph) move with more velocity and volume can enable the body’s healthy processes to function more effectively.
Try it. And if you have input on ways to use the concept (body of water) to explain how exercise promotes good health, please contact me.