How much water should I drink in hot weather?
Despite the UK’s unpredictable weather patterns, summer usually brings the odd heatwave, and this year has been no exception so far.
We’ve already enjoyed week-long spells of hot and humid weather, and some of us may have discovered that without the right care, the heat can easily take it out of you.
Drinking water is one of the main ways to stay comfortable, cool, and completely hydrated in hot weather. Whilst it’s common knowledge that we need to drink more water during summer, how much water is enough to hydrate ourselves and replenish the fluids lost when temperatures creep up?
Here we answer that all-important question as well as reveal more tips for staying happy, healthy and hydrated in hot weather.
Going beyond the eight glass rule
The NHS recommends that all adults should drink six to eight glasses of water per day to prevent dehydration and keep the body functioning at its best. Going beyond the eight glasses during a heatwave, however, is advisable.
A heatwave affects your body in many ways. It becomes dehydrated much quicker as you lose fluids through sweating at a faster rate. These essential fluids need to be replaced to ensure your body remains in tip-top condition.
Whatever your level of activity, the best time to drink water is at regular intervals. Hydrate throughout the day by drinking first thing in the morning, before each meal, prior to, after a workout, and just before bed.
Heat and heavy exercise
You will lose fluids at a much faster rate if you exercise in the heat, which means you may need a little extra help to stay hydrated courtesy of a sports drink.
Here myDr reveals more about how sports drinks can help when mixing heat and heavy exercise:
“Sports drinks contain carbohydrates and electrolytes and are useful if exercising in hot weather. Oral rehydration solutions such as Gastrolyte and Hydralyte are also suitable.
They should be made up and given according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Children should be encouraged to drink water before, during and after exercising, especially if the weather is hot.”
A word of warning about sports drinks, however. Some sports drinks contain added extras such as caffeine, which can have a dehydrating effect on the body.
To ensure your electrolyte sports drink is as healthy and hydrating as possible, try making your own using these refreshing sports drink recipes.
More ways to stay hydrated
Drinking enough water during hot weather is essential and can even prevent health problems such as heatstroke, heat exhaustion, cramps and heat rash.
To make sure you stay hydrated, aim to drink before you feel thirsty and drink regularly even if you don’t feel like it.
Stick to plain, old water – filtered water is best – and avoid sugary drinks. Sugar-laden beverages may quench your thirst in the short term but are dehydrating and damaging to health. The same can be said of alcoholic drinks.
To add interest and flavour to your water, try infusing your drink with your favourite fruits, vegetables and herbs. Moreover, you can drink sparkling water on occasion to increase variety too. You can also incorporate water-rich foods into your diet to hydrate a different way.
If you struggle to remember to drink water at regular intervals, try downloading and using a water tracking app, and take your reusable water bottle everywhere you go.