Preview of Your Coming Attractions

When I retired after 40 years of writing columns for the San Jose Mercury News, I figured I'd said about all I could say. Wrong. I've realized that at age 76, I'm about 10 years older than the oldest baby boomers, who are now turning 66. My very average body has had a lot of experiences in those 10 years. I've learned a lot that could be helpful to people just starting on that same path -- what to do, what to avoid, what to keep an eye on.. Consider me your canary-in-the-coalmine for the boomer generation. Tune in regularly for the heads-up advice.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

To Your Health!

     Here’s a toast to the miracle health liquid you’d do well to drink a lot of: water.
     That’s right, just plain water. We’re fortunate enough to live in a country where good, clean water is as close as your tap, and it’s the best thing you can swallow to keep everything in your body working right. Our bodies are more than 90 percent water anyway, and it’s wise to keep your tank topped up.
     I’ve discovered that as I age, I need to pay more attention to hydration. I don’t recall thinking much about drinking sufficient water when I was younger, but in those days I wasn’t really thinking all that much about my health anyway. When everything is working, you take it for granted. But when you start developing the aches and pains of old age, you tend to smarten up. And drinking water is smart.
     Our bodies need sufficient water intake to keep the kidneys working properly, flushing out all the stuff that needs flushing. Take in too little water, and you can suffer dehydration, often more quickly than you think. The brain can get wobbly. The digestive system doesn’t work as well as it should. Some people have been known to become light-headed or pass out. We’ve all read of performers canceling shows because they were dehydrated – too loopy and dried out to physically perform. They were working too hard, being too busy, to think about keeping up their water intake, and they paid the price.
     I drink a big glass – 16 ounces -- of water every morning upon awakening. After all, my body has gone without the stuff for the previous eight hours or so. Then I make sure to drink another big glass during the morning, and another in the course of the afternoon. (Those ubiquitous plastic bottles of water can be handy, even though I dislike their effect on the environment, if you’re out and about without easy access to glasses; the bottles provide the measured amount you need.)
     That’s all it takes. No need to shell out for expensive potions or pills to “remove your toxins.” Three glasses of water, or their equivalent, every day do everything you need to accomplish that end. Oh, sure, you’ll need to keep a sharp eye on where the nearest toilets are. You’ll be peeing regularly. But you’ll be doing that more as you age anyway. Might as well have a good reason for it.
   So here’s to those three daily glasses, minimum. And if you want to have a little more water at the end of the day, with a dash of Scotch in it, that’s fine, too.

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