Summer is coming, and so is the heat! Since up to 60% of our bodies are made up of water, it’s vital we stay well hydrated at all times. Dehydration is a serious concern, particularly while we’re outdoors and/ or engaging in physical activities. So here are some tips to ensure you stay hydrated during summer.
What are the signs of dehydration?
Apart from the obvious – thirst – there are many other signs of dehydration. Headache, muscle cramps, fatigue, nausea, light-headedness, kidney stones, constipation, irritability, itchiness, and poor cognitive function can all indicate dehydration. A good measure of your hydration level is the color of your urine. Ideally, urine should be pale – the color of straw. Darker shades suggest that you are dehydrated. So, keep an eye on this.
How much do I need to drink?
The hotter the environment, the more water our bodies need – particularly while exercising. Develop the habit of drinking a glass of water when you wake up to replenish the water lost during sleep. Carry a bottle of water with you and take regular sips throughout the day. It’s also good bedtime practice to have a small glass before you go to bed. It’s important to begin all workouts well hydrated and drink in little spurts when possible during your workout. A liter of water post-workout will replenish what you’ve lost through perspiration. Remember, thirst indicates that we’re already dehydrated so don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink.
Just because it’s liquid, doesn’t mean it’s hydrating!
Some drinks actually decrease our hydration. For example, caffeinated drinks, alcohol, sodas, and even energy drinks contain sugar, sodium, and other ingredients that work to remove water from the body. Also, alcohol is a diuretic and will cause your body to lose water through increased urination.
It’s not just about drinking water…
Another important way of staying hydrated is by regulating your body temperature. Choose to wear clothing that is light and loose-fitting. When outdoors, opt for lighter colors that don’t attract the sun. If working out indoors, make sure the room is cool. Finally, schedule any outdoor activities for cooler times of the day. Happy hydrating!