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Hydration challenge sparks health awakening

While water is a vital component of WAPA’s success, it’s also vitally important to the survival of each of us. That’s why in 2022, Colorado River Storage Project Management Center Executive Assistant Sharon Brown, who is an Inclusion & Diversity Advisory Committee co-coordinator, decided to create a challenge to her coworkers to increase the amount of water they drink daily.

The idea was a simple one: motivate people to the benefits of better health by ensuring they had adequate amounts of water in their daily routines and raise awareness about the IDAC.

So, she created the Hydration Challenge.

“As humans, we all have the same basic needs,” said Brown. “No matter your gender, religion, nationality or skin color, there is one force that drives every one of us, and that is our health. Our thought process was, ‘If April showers bring May flowers, and since we market power made from water, why not celebrate hydro with a hydration challenge?’”

“After all, the human body is 60% water, and without it we simply cannot function well,” she added.

Ripples of expanding hydration

The Hydration Challenge started out as an internal challenge with 14 people creating seven teams at CRSP MC. The teams competed against each other for one full month and invited people from the Desert Southwest region to compete with them and had a total of 34 people participate in all.

“The DSW IDAC accepted our challenge with open water bottles,” Brown said. “Throughout the challenge, we sent out more fun facts to help keep everyone focused on what was really important… WINNING! Just kidding. The focus was on health and how our bodies will feel so much better when we are properly hydrated.”

DSW Management and Program Analyst Tatiana Young was a point person for this challenge from the DSW IDAC side. “It was a very interesting challenge because it promotes your health,” she said. “I noticed that during the four-week challenge I had to push myself to drink more water than I normally do. Typically, I would never forget to get cup of coffee but often I forget to hydrate myself. I started to feel much better while focusing on hydrating myself, and exercising more, as well as removing caffeine from daily usage!”

Part of the motivation behind this was because at the end of the day, no matter who you are, where you come from, what you believe in, or where you are in life, you only have one body. So why not take care of it?

Financial Program Analyst Alex Lindstrom noted, “I’ve always been a big water drinker for the last few years, so this wasn’t new for me.”

“But what was fun for me was actually tracking it and feeling accomplished when I turned in my ounces for the week,” Lindstrom said. “This provided me motivation to be more diligent with other aspects of my health.”

Nourishing life, one sip at a time

Though the challenge, Brown and her team brought awareness to people who did not realize they were not hydrating properly.

“For me personally, I only used to drink 24 ounces of water in a day,” said Brown. “I had constant headaches and wondered why I felt lethargic by the end of the day. As I gradually increased my water intake to my new average of 70 ounces per day, I noticed an astounding difference. I had more energy, my skin looked better, my joints didn’t hurt as much, and I just felt amazing!”

“Others have said they have found a new love of water,” Brown added. “All in all, this challenge has been such a success story.”

Brown and her team hope other regions will participate in the 2024 Hydration Challenge.

Several significant benefits of hydrating properly:

  • Increase your energy levels:
    Water increases our red blood cell counts and increases the oxygen we receive to our brain. The increase in oxygen will create more alertness and energy so you can start your morning off right. Beginning the day with water instead of coffee or tea, you are also saving your stomach from acid build up or reflux. It is recommended to drink water before having food and coffee.
  • Boost your metabolism:
    For some, weight loss can be a very slow and daunting process. By boosting your metabolic rate, you are increasing the rate at which calories are burned. According to WebMD.com, after drinking 17 ounces of water, men and women saw an increase of approximately 30% to their metabolism. Water also makes you feel full and can remove the by-products of fat cells.
  • Help ease aches and pains:
    Drinking water helps to lubricate and cushion joints. Drinking enough water daily can also help to remove acid wastes that can build up in the body. Drinking water in the morning can help with back pain, joint pain and even arthritis, so you feel better throughout the day. Water also helps with chronic headaches. Often, headaches are caused by unintentional dehydration. It can also be because of electrolyte imbalance. By drinking the appropriate amount of water, you can help balance out your fluids and aide in easing headaches and other pains.
  • Clearer complexion and more radiant skin:
    Drinking water on an empty stomach will help retain the elasticity of your skin and prevent wrinkles. It also hydrates skin, so it looks brighter, softer and more radiant throughout the day.
  • Fight toxins:
    Drinking water can help flush out harmful toxins in your body. When you urinate and sweat, you are ridding the body of toxins that build up in your system. Water also cleanses out the colon, which makes nutrient absorption easier, and helps the kidneys in producing hormones, absorbing minerals, filtering blood and producing urine.

Quotes from participants across both participating regions:

DSW Public Utilities Specialist James Lambert:
“I greatly appreciated the hydration challenge which increased my awareness of drinking more water, especially since I live in the desert. It would be great to see a longer challenge or multiple challenges a year!”

CRSP MC Administrative and Technical Services Manager Brian Sadler:
“This challenge has created a habit for me to drink approximately 16 fluid ounces first thing in the morning, getting me off to a great start. I have also found this practice helps me limit my daily coffee to just one cup!”

DSW Engineering and Construction Manager Teresita Amaro:
“The hydration challenge was a great opportunity to promote inclusion and diversity between the two regions by having friendly competition. Even though we lost, it was a great way for us to pull together and meet the challenge to keep hydrated.”

DSW Realty Specialist and IDAC Member Mark Grinage:
“Aside from the hydration challenge being a great opportunity to promote inclusion & diversity between the two regions by having friendly competition. I can see the difference in my food intake as well as the weight lost. I feel more energized, and my skin shows the difference as a result of my water consumption.”

CRSP MC Financial Manager Jennifer Hultsch:
“The CRSP Inclusion and Diversity Committee does a great job of bringing us together. At our ‘What’s Hot’ meetings, they present on topics like the Chinese New Year presentation, which turned into goal setting for personal growth. No matter the topic, our IDAC promotes our commonalities and team cohesiveness. I love being part of the CRSP team, where we all work to bring out the best in each other!”

Note: The author is a public affairs specialist.

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Last modified on March 12th, 2024