It’s hot, y’all…or at least it is here in my neck of the woods in Alabama. With this heat though, I wanted to write up a quick post encouraging us on the importance of staying hydrated throughout the summer. If you’re physically active in the heat, it’s even more important to be mindful of hydrating yourself properly. Outside temperature raises our core body temperature so just think how much more our body temp is raised when we’re exercising in the heat! I’ve mentioned on here before that sometimes our body will mimic the feeling of hunger to prompt us to drink more water. Waiting until you have the classic dry lips and parched mouth before drinking anything is waiting way too long.
Here are some common signs of dehydration:
- nausea (ick!)
- dark-colored urine or infrequent urination (you want your urine to be a light lemonade color vs. dark yellow…please note that some supplements/vitamins will discolor urine to a funky color)
- constipation (if you’re trying to kick up your fiber intake for any reason, make sure you up your fluid intake as well or you’ll be doing more harm than good!)
- dry lips, mouth, and skin
- increased body temperature or hard breathing
It’s easy to sweat off a couple pounds during exercise in the heat. As appealing as this sounds in terms of quick weight loss, think about weighing yourself before and after workouts to determine how much sweat/fluid loss occurred. You’ll want to make sure you drink about 2 1/2 cups water for every pound of weight loss during exercise.
BUT WHY DOES OUR BODY NEED WATER?!
- removes waste from our body
- keeps stools softer (yay!)
- improves/enhances mental function
- carries nutrients, oxygen, and glucose to the cells giving you energy
- helps strengthen muscles
If you’re struggling to make sure you’re getting enough fluids throughout the day, buy yourself a cute and fun water bottle as a way to have water as a convenient beverage choice. This may sound silly, but also using a smart phone device with an alarm/calendar to remind you of various points in the day to have your water (it sounds silly but we use our phone for everything else, why not use it as a way to get into a hydration habit?) can be helpful as well. A lot of my patients aren’t crazy about plain water and also want to avoid artificial sweeteners from products such as Crystal Light, Mio, etc. If that’s you, try naturally flavoring your water with slices of your favorite fruit(s) to steep in a cold iced picture of water throughout the day (think about when you go to the spa and you see the containers of water infused with slices of lemon and lime). One of my favorite “odd” combinations is letting a pitcher of water steep with slices of strawberry and mint leaves. Freezing cubes of 100% fruit juice to use to ice down your water can be a great way to get fruit flavor in your water bottle as well.
If you already drink a good bit of water but want to make sure you’re staying well hydrated in this heat, incorporating fluid rich foods can be a helpful way to maintain hydration. Having fresh fruit such as watermelon and citrus fruits with a high water concentration can be a nice hydrating treat during the summer. Salads with wonderful refreshing crisp lettuce and water-rich broccoli can also enhance your hydration. Dairy products such as yogurts and milk have a high fluid content (85-89% water) that can provide a super tasty way to stay hydrated as well! 🙂
*Avoid beverages with high concentrations of sugar, alcohol, or caffeine as these will counteract your hydrating efforts due to their diuretic properties!
Below I’ve included a very short clip encouraging folks to include water-rich foods in their diet to stay hydrated this summer.
What’s your favorite way to stay hydrated in the summer? Any tips for flavoring your own water at home or keeping yourself on task with drinking fluids?