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Longing for a drink?
- Veena Basavarajaiah, Bangalore

January 6, 2013

Water is the most important nutrient required by the human body. It is essential for all bodily functions including circulation, digestion, transportation of nutrients, lubrication of organs and also maintaining body temperature. Water constitutes up to 70-75% of our weight and during a dancing session we can lose up to 2% of our body weight. This lost water has to be replenished by water intake to restore the balance in the body.

The body absorbs water from the food we eat and different fluids that we consume. Fruit juices are a better alternate source of water than coffee and tea. Caffeine present in these hot beverages force out water and essential nutrients and are not good for the dancing body. The presence of sodium affects the water balance in the body. If your body has a problem retaining water then there is a need to consume food rich in sodium. Apart from cooking salt, sodium can be acquired through various foods like beans, sprouts etc. Excessive sodium could lead to water retention and excessive bloating. Drinking water automatically restores the sodium balance in the body and can solve the problem of water retention.

There is no one prescribed method of keeping the body hydrated. It varies from one body to another and often depends on the weather conditions as well. For example, dancers who sweat more or who have more fat content need to consume more water. It is also important to drink more water in hotter climates where the body sweats extensively to keep the body cool. Lack of water could lead to dizziness, headaches, nausea or muscle cramps. It also leads to reduced stamina while dancing and tiredness. Continuous dancing or physical exertion without replenishment of water could also lead to sickness and dehydration.

Dancers need to drink plenty of water at least 30 minutes to one hour before dancing. This will prevent that bloated feeling caused immediately after drinking water. It is also essential to have a glass of water every half hour or one hour during rehearsals or performance. After the dancing session it is crucial to drink large amounts of water to replenish the body. During performance, one could keep sipping a sport drink to ensure that there is a good intake of both nutrients and water. More organic options are fruit juices or dry fruit milkshakes. Whilst doing yoga, you are required to drink more water after doing inversions and back bends to flush out the toxins from the body.

Keeping yourself hydrated would lead to healthy functioning of the liver and the kidney. It also ensures that the digestive system functions effectively absorbing all the nutrients. Water also ensures that the waste and toxins in the body are removed effectively. Drinking water is also a known cure for jet-lags and hangovers. It is the most effective way of purifying the body and keeping it healthy.

Veena Basavarajaiah is a Bangalore based solo dancer and choreographer who is trained in Bharatanatyam, Kalaripayattu, Ballet and Contemporary dance. She has worked with Shobana Jeyasingh Dance Company, Angika Dance Company, Attakkalari, Kalari Academy, Gati Forum, Nritarutya, Natyantharanga & Yana Lewis Dance Co. She has performed on various platforms across India, UK and Europe. She is the recipient of Special Mention Young Achievers Award in 2007 and also a paneled artist of the Indian Council for Cultural Relations.

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