Sometimes the simple things can make the biggest impact.

Did you know that water is the single most important nutrient for your body, but is often overlooked or neglected? “Think of water as a transportation agent for all of the other nutrients in your body. Without it, those nutrients don’t get to where they need to, so your body is not working to its peak performance,” explains Ashley Simper, community and outpatient dietitian for OSF Saint Francis Medical Center.

Rules of Thumb
Adults lose more than 10 cups of water a day just by breathing, sweating and eliminating wastes, so your body needs a constant supply of water to stay hydrated and healthy. And if you exercise a lot, you need more hydration, especially while you’re exercising.

“As a good rule, adults need eight, eight-ounce glasses of water a day,” says Simper. “We recommend calorie-free water as the best option, but unsweetened tea and unsweetened flavors to add to water to change the taste are fine, too. Any liquid counts, even soup, but some choices are better than others.”

We lose our thirst sensation as we age, so don’t assume your body will let you know when you’re starting to get dehydrated. Older adults need to make sure they’re drinking plenty of water—even when they’re not thirsty. “One of the best ways to tell if you’re taking in enough liquids is to look at your urine,” Simper explains. “If it’s the color of Mountain Dew, you’re most likely dehydrated; if it’s the color of lemonade, you’re good.”

Tailored Services
Based at the RiverPlex, the OSF HealthCare wellness team has a variety of information—including about water—and programs available to businesses throughout central Illinois.

“We have seen a huge increase in the use of our services over the last 18 months,” says Meta Rask, Supervisor of OSF Services at the RiverPlex. “People realize long stretches of an unhealthy lifestyle can’t be fixed overnight. It requires teaching and helping a person make healthy choices over an extended period of time.”

The wellness team is available for onsite programs for businesses on any number of topics. “We do ‘Lunch and Learns,’ many of which focus on preventive health measures,” says Rask. “I have even done classes on proper stretching for employees to help prevent injuries. We tailor the programs to what the business wants and needs.”

Journey to Wellness
If you want to assess the overall state of your body, the Bod Pod might be a good starting point. It measures lean body mass and body fat percentage, and estimates resting metabolic rate quickly, safely and accurately. A good indicator of overall fitness, the Bod Pod is used by professional sports teams in the NFL and the NCAA. Appointments are made through OSF services at the RiverPlex.

The wellness team is also working to improve access to care—particularly for those who may not know how to access services—through the new OSF Care-A-Van. The Care-A-Van, a full-size RV with two medical exam rooms, is currently making stops four times a month, with clinical care and health education provided by faith community nurses, medical residents from the University of Illinois College of Medicine at Peoria, registered dieticians and medical exercise specialists. In addition to clinical services for things like high blood pressure and diabetes, the Care-A-Van team works to connect a person with insurance benefits, and a primary care physician for regular access to the healthcare they need.

No matter what your need or journey to wellness you are on, OSF HealthCare can help. Sometimes the simple things—like a cool glass of water—can make the biggest impact. iBi

Shelli Dankoff is Media Relations Coordinator for OSF Healthcare System.