By Dawn Campbell (France)

‘Don’t wait till you’re thirsty to dig a well’ says venerable master Hsuan Hua.  We now know by the time someone realises they are thirsty, it’s too late; they are already suffering the effects of dehydration.

One such effect is on the brain.  Functionality to do with concentration, creativity, decision making etc. are all markedly reduced when dehydrated.  Dehydration has long been recognised to cause shrinkage of brain tissue which negatively effects cognitive performance and no-one is immune.

At birth, we are approx. 90% water.  As we mature this decreases to about 70% until finally, in old age, we’re typically about 60% water.  The typical visible affect is first seen on our skin hence we wrinkle as we age.  However, this is only an external indicator of the damage going on internally whereby organs and bones are also shrinking.  Of course several factors contribute to this situation, but water loss is the key one.

Dehydration means ‘loss of water’ and it doesnot have to be excessive loss before the body and the brain is negatively affected either.  Our bodies are naturally and continually eliminating waste and water waste is no exception.  Water is excreted through sweat (yes I know ladies don’t sweat, they glow), breath, urine and other routine functions.  That means we lose on average 1 ½ litres daily.  How much moisture is lost depends on variables like age and general health, the climate, seasonal temperatures and of course how active we are.

Source: iCN Issue 5 (Leadership Coaching); pages 69-70