Staying hydrated during the summer
With the hottest season of the year rapidly approaching, it’s important to stay hydrated – whether you’re out with friends, playing sports or simply enjoying your time in the sun. Risk of dehydration during the summer months is significantly increased due to the warm weather. Dehydration can result in headaches, fatigue and even life threatening conditions such as heat stroke. So, making sure you get an adequate amount of fluids when the weather is warm is absolutely vital.
How much is enough?
You’ve probably heard the saying that 8 glasses of water a day is sufficient for an average adult, but in reality it’s important to tailor this amount to your body-type and lifestyle. For instance, for someone who sweats a lot or who has certain illnesses such as diabetes, water intake should be higher. Likewise, a person who engages in regular physical exercise (particularly outdoors during the summer) should consume significantly more water than someone with a sedentary lifestyle.
As a rule of thumb, if you find yourself getting thirsty then you’re probably already dehydrated. The best plan for the summer months is to stick to a steady intake of water throughout the day, whether you feel dehydrated or not. The easiest way to tell if you’re dehydrated is to assess the colour of your urine – if it’s close to clear then you probably are well hydrated, but if it is dark then you might well be dehydrated. Weighing yourself, particularly before and after exercise, is also a good way to ensure you haven’t lost too much weight through perspiration. If you find that you are barely sweating during intense physical exercise, this is a strong indicator that you are dehydrated.
Planning is essential
If you like to exercise outdoors or intend to spend a lot of time in the sun this summer, planning in advance is essential for maintaining an adequate fluid intake. For any trip you make, whether it be a picnic in the park or a long car journey, remember to take some water with you. If you have a water filter, it’s worth purchasing some re-usable containers so that every time you leave the house you can fill them up with some fresh drinking water. Doing this means you won’t have to run to the shops to purchase some bottled water every time you want to leave the house. If staying hydrated is a big concern because of health issues, sending yourself texts and emails as reminders to drink water might be a good idea.
Sources of water
Using a water filter is a great way to ensure you always have adequate amounts of water to stay hydrated during the summer. Also, if regular water isn’t particularly appealing to you, you could try adding some citrus fruits (which have electrolytes for hydration purposes) to your water or perhaps make a cup of tea – both will keep you hydrated. You can also eat hydrating foods such as cucumbers and watermelons which have a high water content. Just remember to stay away from the caffeinated canned drinks and alcoholic beverages because these usually have a dehydrating effect.
(Photo by idea22)