We are deep into the summer heat waves, so it is extremely important to discuss how to stay hydrated and how to be aware of the signs of dehydration to stay ahead of the hydration game.
How to stay hydrated:
- Drink Water: 60% of our body weight is water. With this being said, it is clear how important it is to maintain proper hydration to allow for proper body functioning. The amount of water required varies depending on age, weight, and gender. So, it is necessary to listen to your body and be aware of your own specific signs of dehydration.
- Recognize Signs of Dehydration: There are many signs of dehydration which help us recognize when we need water. The most common way to recognize the start of dehydration is to look at the color of your urine. If it is a clear pale-yellow color, you are consuming enough water but if it is a dark yellow/amber color, you are not. Stay ahead of dehydration by properly hydrating before activity during, during activity, and after activity during the hot months. Warning signs of a heat illness when dehydrated can include but are not limited to:
- Decreased amount of urine
- Dry mouth
- Heart palpitations
- Include Electrolytes: Electrolytes like, sodium, chloride, and potassium, assist in the body’s fluid balance. In addition to fluid balance, electrolytes are also involved in electrical activity in the body, related to muscle contractions. Especially after a sweat session or a very hot day, it is necessary to replace our body’s electrolytes lost through sweat. Replace electrolytes by drinking commercial sports drinks or snacking on salty foods like pretzels.
- Stay Cool: When there is a heat wave in the summer, and you are participating in outdoor activities, it is especially important to stay properly hydrated! Be sure to make your refillable water bottle your best friend, so you know you always have a source of hydration nearby.
- Eat High-Water Content Foods: There are several foods with high-water content that would aid in hydration. These include many fruits and vegetables such as cucumbers, tomatoes, watermelon, spinach, grapefruit, and peppers. In addition to drinking water and other hydrating beverages, include these fruits and vegetables for hydration + nutrients. On a super hot day, a cool, icy smoothie is a great way to hydrate.
Although water is the simplest and best drink to stay hydrated with, there are also many other options! These may include coconut water, green tea, kombucha, Gatorade, and seltzer. If you’re looking for ways to spruce up your plain water – try adding slices of citrus (lemon, lime, orange, grapefruit) or refreshing slices of cucumber and basil or mint.
What is your favorite way to stay hydrated during the summer months?