Start Drinking Water

Read how drinking water can be an important factor for your body.

| November/December 1983

  • Water
    Water can increase energy and endurance, prevent kidney stones, aid digestion and elimination, regulate the body's temperature, and bring about a feeling of well-being.
    Photo by Fotolia/Luchshen

  • Water

Drinking Water

It's the world's most healthful and inexpensive beverage. It can increase energy and endurance, prevent kidney stones, aid digestion and elimination, regulate the body's temperature, and bring about a feeling of well-being. Yet very few of us consume as much of it as we should.

A number of years ago, the Swiss put together the finest mountain-climbing team available to them . . . in the hope that it would be the first to scale Mount Everest. Many months went into the group's preparation, since every pound of equipment and supplies carried had to be weighed against the awful demands that would be made upon human energy in the effort to reach the top of the world. Unfortunately, despite all that careful planning, the Swiss team had to abandon the attempt because of sheer exhaustion . . . not realizing that a source of relief was covering the ground all around them.

A year or so later, when a group of British climbers undertook the same challenge, their team physician (Sir John Hunt) remembered that the Swiss had consumed only two cups of water per day during their assault on the mountain . . . so Dr. Hunt recommended that the U.K. team carry additional snow-melting equipment, since he believed that the climbers would function better if they drank more water. You see, when working in that thin, chill air, people lose a lot of water through respiration (as well as through perspiration), because the air entering the lungs has to be humidified as it's brought nearer to body temperature. Therefore, the doctor insisted that each British participant drink a minimum of 12 cups of water daily. That team, headed by Sir Edmund Hillary, followed his advice . . . and it was the first such expedition to plant its flag the summit of the world's highest peak.

Little-Known Scientific Facts

In order to further examine Dr. Hunt's theory about how water consumption affected endurance, a Harvard physiologist G.C. Pitts, tested a group of trained male athletes by putting them on treadmill timed at 3 1/2 miles per hour.

The subjects in the first group were given no water at all, and were asked to walk until they were so fatigued that they could go no farther. These athletes lasted about 3 1/2 hours. Their temperatures rose rapidly during the test period, and — in the exhaustion phase — finally reached an average of above 102 degrees Fahrenheit.

The members of the second group were allowed to drink as much as they desired, and their temperatures didn't rise nearly as rapidly. However, after approximately six hours of exercise on the treadmill — as the men reached exhaustion — their body heat zoomed up.

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