Saturday, July 31, 2021

Think water, drink water

| October 4, 2020 12:00 AM

Think water, drink water.

Those are my latest words of wisdom to live by. I’ve always kept a glass or bottle of water nearby whether I’m working or relaxing, but now, more than ever, I’m coaxing myself to even more frequently partake in nature’s best medicine.

Everybody who regularly exercises is well familiar the key to proper hydration is: “Drink before you’re thirsty.”

I’ve always put that advice in practice in my own recreational pursuits. And, because so, I’m not proud of, but not ashamed to admit — I’ve drunk a lot of stale, tepid water in my day.

Now, the water that comes out of our taps at home is as clear and cold as a high mountain stream since it’s pumped up from a well 240 feet deep leading to an underground aquifer running through bedrock.

I can’t imagine drinking filtered water from the fridge or, worse, bottled water at home. Our tap water is delicious and I don’t cotton to disposable water bottles.

But over years of charity cycling and touring — more often than not, long and hot rides — summer kayaking and, in earlier years, 5K runs, I’ve swallowed a whole lot of warm water.

When I first started longer-distance cycling, the only water bottles around were made of plastic containing BPA, also known as the industrial chemical bithenol.

Nearly every sporting event you’d sign up for you were presented swag in the form of a plastic water bottle with the event’s logo emblazoned on it. At one time I had water bottles stacked in my cupboard like bowling pins; reaching for one usually resulted in a 7-10 split.

At the time no one knew about the possible health hazards of low-dose exposure to BPA, which had been used in the manufacture of hard polycarbonate plastics since the 1940s. Although studies were conducted on its safety versus its toxicity in the early ‘80s, no governmental agency would regulate BPA’s use until 2008, despite numerous previous conclusive studies verifying its toxicity in humans and particularly infants.

So, for years all of us were all just happily sipping from our BPA-tainted plastic water bottles. And since they weren’t insulated, the last drops of water being drained from them was usually warm.

Hydration is hydration, however, and a body is going to function way better with a belly full of tepid tap water than none at all. Out of necessity (read: no choice) I acquired the ability to be nonjudgmental about the water I consumed … unlike some members of my family who won’t drink tap water anywhere else in the country besides here at home in the Flathead.

True, water bottles have come a long way over the years. Now you can find insulated aluminum bottles that keep your drinks ice cold all day. The problem with most is, one, they won’t fit in a standard bicycle water bottle cage; and two, they require two hands to open — one to hold the bottle and the other to unscrew the cap — and hands-free bicycling isn’t something I care to make a habit of.

These days I recreate with BPA-free plastic, insulated water bottles that somewhat mitigate that midday loss of chilled water. I still haven’t found a good metal insulated bottle that has the right sipping mechanism. I’ll keep looking.

But until I find that dream water bottle that checks all the boxes, I’ve made my peace with drinking warm water on the fly.

Happy hydrating!

Community and Entertainment editor Carol Marino may be reached at 406-758-4440 or