Sunday, 11 October 2009
This post should have been called water's virtuous circle, but then I remembered the first book I tried to read in German, more than five years ago, which I must admit I was not able to finish.
I somehow managed to read two chapters of John Irving's "Die wilde Geschichte vom Wassertrinker" (*), but when you are spending more time looking up words on a dictionary than reading the book, at some point you'll just let go. Probably now, having already higher walls (Thomas Bernhard, Robert Walser, Erwin Schrödinger, ...) behind me, I will give it another try, because I like John Irving and also because the book is not mine! Even though my friend K might have long forgotten that I borrowed it, it is still a nice excuse to meet him... :)
What I actually wanted to talk about is the unexpected chain of valuable consequences that the simple fact of drinking water regularly can start. Vicious circles are unfortunately well known, but we should not forget that virtuous circles do exist as well. They are kind of a reinforced loop of events that, once set off, produce all kinds of beneficial effects.
Let us start with the recommendation to drink at least 2 litres of water a day. If I want to follow this piece of advice on a normal working day at the office, let's say I want to drink 2 liters without counting standard meals, if I spend 8 hours at the office then I have to drink 0.25l per hour, if I did the math correctly. It means I have to try and drink a glass water every half hour.
Let's see the chain of positive effects that starts as we drink that glass of water:
(i) we are drinking (more than) 2 litres of water a day, with all the health good effects that it brings forth
(ii) we have to leave the chair and stand up every time we have to go to the kitchen to refill the glass. Our muscles are activated and our eyes are granted a rest from staring at the computer screen (if your work consists mainly of sitting in front of a computer monitor, it is good to try to focus on a distant point every now and then)
(iii) one of the most noticeable effects of drinking half a liter water an hour is that the frequency of your WC-needs is going to raise remarkably. With that we boost the function of our kidneys and bladder.
(iv) frequent visits to the WC mean -as in (ii)- the same beneficial effects for our muscles and eyes as when going to the kitchen
(v) after the WC business we, of course, wash hands, with which we get a very important prevention factor against cold and flu. Which, in present times, is not uninteresting.
(vi) to finish, in a kind of job as mine, where you often need to "go up a little" to look at the problems from above, where you need regularly a happy idea at the right time in order to make everything simple (or, at least, manageable), introducing some physical activity (going to refill a glass, being in the WC) is really useful to unconsciously reorganise your thoughts and then get back to your computer knowing what's the next step.
Fred Trumper, the hero on Die wilde Geschichte vom Wassertrinker, had to drink lots of water because of an abnormally narrow uro-genital tract.
In my case, it is just about sparking this wonderful virtuous circle that only needs a glass of water to start.
(*) lit. "the wild story of the water drinker"