One last thought about water bottles. It's become necessary and practically en vogue to bring a water bottle to the gym to use during and after a workout. But lately, water bottles have received negative publicity that might soon make them an endangered species.
We've all heard that the regular half-liter plastic bottles sold in grocery stores are harmful for the environment. Heck, even some fancy restaurants have recently stopped selling bottled water for that reason.
Last month, a report declared that Nalgene bottles, those sport bottles often found in the sweaty hands of club members, are no good, either. Bottles that have a 3, 6 or a 7 in the triangle at the base of the bottle contain the chemical bisphenol A, or BPA, that is often released when the bottle is heated in the microwave or dishwasher. BPA mimics the hormone estrogen in our bodies, and it could induce hormonal responses. Apparently, that wouldn't be a good thing.
Most Nalgene bottles have a 7 on them, while a majority of water bottles have a 1 on them and are safe but not intended for re-use. One expert who appeared on NBC's “The Today Show” all but shunned Nalgene bottles altogether.
Putting bottles aside, let's examine the water in those grocery store bottles. Isn't that water supposedly drawn from natural, mineral streams or something? It turns out that most bottled water produced by the major soft drink companies is merely treated tap water.
We've been told time and again that we need to drink eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day. But wait a minute: That theory has been debunked, too. A University of Pennsylvania study says that the idea of drinking eight glasses of water a day is all wet. (Thank you, Google search, for that pun.) During our company's corporate wellness day last year, my colleague, Jennipher Shaver, gave a short lecture about how we can get water into our bodies from a variety of food sources, particularly fruit. After hearing that, I made up my mind that the theory of drinking eight glasses of water a day didn't hold that much … uh … water.
If members choose not to drink water, they have to quench their thirst with something … but what? Sport drinks, like Gatorade, are always popular, and they're advertised to rehydrate us, but there's so much sugar in those drinks that they almost defeat the purpose of sweating off those carbs. A small amount of sport drink is OK. Save the large amounts for the flu.
So what's a gym goer to do? Bring a water glass to a group ex class? One accident here, another there, and you have broken glass everywhere. There's a lawsuit just waiting to happen.
How about the good old-fashioned water fountain? Maybe, but do you really want to take a swig from a fountain right after some sweaty guy has slurped up half your nearby river? MRSA alert! MRSA alert!
Perhaps one way to help members who don't want to bring in their own water bottles is to install a water trough in the middle of your club. Members could bring a ladle from home and scoop up their desired amount of water. Or, if they're not too concerned with MRSA, they could stick their heads in the trough and start slurping.
OK, so that may not be so practical. Maybe the best solution is to mandate the office water cooler in all clubs. Coolers have cold, filtered water at the drop of a spout, and the paper cups are biodegradable. A water cooler would create more of a social atmosphere in your club since members more than likely would meet each other there. You would just need to ensure that there's plenty of water to go around.
So go ahead and throw away those bottles. Or better yet, recycle them. And leave the ladle at home.