Hydrating in the Heat

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
  • headaches
  • apathy

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?

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4 thoughts on “Hydrating in the Heat

  1. You have inspired me to flavor a pitcher of water for my fridge. My favorite combination is cucumber, lemon, and mint! Yum! So refreshing! But I do have some fresh strawberries, so maybe I will try your strawberry-mint suggestion!

    After reading this, I have a question – Is there any difference in hydration from drinking carbonated water? I only drink water, black coffee and unsweetened tea (no juice, milk, or soda), but sometimes I need a little pick-me-up in the afternoons so I grab a can of cold seltzer water (usually naturally flavored). Does it have the same hydrating power as drinking still water? I am considering buying a SodaStream to make my own carbonated water, but I want to make sure it is healthy to drink bubbly water before I take the plunge.

    • I’m glad I’ve provided some inspiration! There have been different schools of thought when it comes to having carbonated water was a source of hydration. Overall, carbonated water is a very appropriate way to get your water intake throughout the day. There’s a misnomer out there that carbonated water affects bone calcium density and damages your teeth but this is not the case at all. However, flavored seltzers will contain some acidity due to the flavoring agents which could cause damage to your teeth if consumed in excess. But I think if you flavored your seltzers on your own by adding fresh raspberries or other fruit to plan carbonated water you would be in the clear.

      My husband used to drink several 2 liter bottles a day of raspberry flavored seltzer (a grocery brand) and his doctor told him it was making his potassium levels too high. I’m still unconvinced that the seltzer was attributing to this but he has been more mindful of his consumption 🙂

  2. Pingback: 4 Reasons To Drink Water BEFORE You Workout by Maria Dorfner | MEDCrunch: What's Hot in Health

  3. Pingback: 4th of July Healthy Holiday Eating Tips | A Filipino Foodie

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