Summer is a time for being active, spending more time outdoors and enjoying the warm sun. It is also a perfect time for staying hydrated with lots of water, and enjoying a swim to relax and strengthen the muscles.
How water helps people with CP
The benefits of drinking water are widely known to help improve mood, aid with water loss, and keep the cartilage around our joints hydrated and supple. Consuming water means a lower risk of death from coronary heart disease, as the body is made of 60 per cent water and keeps our fluids balanced. Water helps the muscles relax and it gives people with cerebral palsy more elasticity.
Julia Lovett, a reporter at Northeast News, has left hemiplegia cerebral palsy, which means it affects her arm and leg on the left side of her body. Since beginning to drink water more often, she has started to see the benefits on her body. “To quote David Suzuki, you are made up of a huge blob of water,” she says. From her own experience, she says that people with spastic CP are affected by muscle contractions, and water helps those muscles relax.
Swimming is an activity that improves long term physical and mental health and provides an impact-free cardio workout. In addition, it keeps our kidneys working which remove waste from our bodies, helps control our blood pressure, and balances fluids that are crucial in keeping our systems running effectively. According to an article on greatest.com, feeling tired is often a sign of dehydration and a couple glasses of water energizes us. In addition, consumption of water-rich vegetables and fruits like cucumber, watermelon, and strawberries provides minerals, salts and natural sugars the body needs for optimum hydration levels, so eating them can often rehydrate us.
Julia has spastic CP which causes the muscles to contract, so drinking water is essential to loosening the muscles. “Water is pure and it doesn’t have sugar like Gatorade. The more water you drink you are flushing out the toxins and improving muscle health,” says the 30-year-old Fort St. John resident.
Maintaining a healthy diet
She indicated that people with CP have to be smart in terms of eating healthy and should try to maintain a good diet, exercise regularly and stay away from caffeine which is dehydrating. As well, in many cases, people living with CP may have muscle tension and soreness if they aren’t hydrated. Drinking water improves overall health for everyone, including those with CP. Julia notes that her husband is a school teacher and carries a water bottle to his classes, stressing that it is about constant hydration and a water bottle is key to that.
Lovett said that it’s a common myth that people are supposed to drink six to eight glasses a day. In fact, there is no definitive optimum level of daily water intake – it depends on many factors. However, it is good to stay hydrated to help keep muscles healthy when exercising and support muscle development. “I ride horses and swimming is great; it is awesome for muscle building since it keeps the muscles elastic and not tense.”