Here is the third edition of our summer series. This post is long and contains a lot of helpful information that should remind us how to hydrate properly. It will be hot again so remember these tips and information to keep yourself safe during the summer months.
Your body depends on water for survival. Did you know that water makes up more than half of your body weight? Every cell, tissue and organ in your body needs water to function correctly. You lose water each day when you go to the bathroom, sweat, and even when you breathe. You lose water even faster when the weather is really hot, when you exercise, or if you have a fever.
Symptoms of dehydration include:
- Little or no urine, or urine that is darker than usual
- Dry mouth
- Sleepiness or fatigue
- Extreme thirst
- Feeling dizzy or lightheaded
Most people have been told they should be drinking 6 to 8 8-ounce glasses of water each day, which is a reasonable goal. If you are concerned that you may not be drinking enough water, check your urine. If your urine is consistently colorless or light yellow, you are most likely staying well hydrated.
You may need to increase the amount of water you are drinking if you:
- Have certain medical conditions, such as kidney stones or bladder infection
- Are pregnant or breastfeeding
- Are going to be outside during hot weather
- Are going to be exercising
- Have a fever, or have been vomiting or have diarrhea
- Are trying to lose weight
Water is the best option for staying hydrated. There are other drinks and foods that can help provide the water you need, but some may add extra calories from sugar to your diet. Drinks like fruit and vegetable juices, milk and herbal teas can contribute to the amount of water you should get each day. Water can also be found in fruits and vegetables, such as watermelon, tomatoes and lettuce, and in soup broths.
For most people, water is all that is needed to maintain good hydration. However, if you are planning on exercising at a high intensity for longer than an hour, a sports drink may be helpful because it contains carbohydrates that can prevent low blood sugar. A sports drink can also help replace electrolytes if you have a fever, have been vomiting or have had diarrhea. Choose sports drinks wisely, as they are often high in calories from sugar and may contain high levels of sodium. Energy drinks usually contain large amounts of caffeine and other stimulants (for example, guarana or taurine) that your body doesn’t need. Most of these drinks are also high in sugar..
- Keep a bottle of water with you during the day. Consider carrying a reusable water bottle and filling it from the tap rather than purchasing bottled water, which is expensive and creates plastic bottle waste.
- If plain water doesn’t interest you, try adding a slice of lemon or lime to your drink.
- If you’re going to be exercising, make sure you drink water before, during and after your workout.
- Start and end your day with a glass of water.
- When you’re feeling hungry, drink water. The sensation of thirst is often confused with hunger. True hunger will not be satisfied by drinking water. Drinking water may also contribute to a healthy weight loss plan, as some research suggests drinking water will help you feel full.
- Drink on a schedule if you have trouble remembering to drink water. For example, drink water when you wake up; at breakfast, lunch and dinner; and when you go to bed. Or drink a small glass of water at the top of each hour.
- Drink water when you go to a restaurant. Not only does it keep you hydrated, but it’s free!
– Safety Sean