In the midst of summer, many people are taking advantage of outdoor activities. No matter what age, it is important to stay hydrated in hot weather. From playing sports to traveling to the beach, hydration helps support healthy heart function in the hot weather and can help avoid frustrating side effects of dehydration. Follow these hydration tips to avoid ruining your summer fun with headaches, swollen feet, or even heat stroke.
Know How Much Water to Drink
Depending on the weather, type and amount of clothing being worn, amount of energy exerted and body type, the amount of water you need to prevent dehydration varies. Additional factors include medical conditions such as diabetes, cystic fibrosis, or heart disease, medications taken, or even perspiration rates.
Easily recognizable signs of dehydration go beyond just thirst. In fact, it is important to note that if you feel thirsty, you are most likely already dehydrated. A more telling factor is urine color. The paler and clearer the better. If your urine appears dark in color, drink water.
Another sign of dehydration is lack of perspiration during physical activity. If you do not sweat while heavily exercising, you may be close to developing heat exhaustion.
In order to calculate a general idea of how much water to consume to avoid dehydration, weigh yourself before and after exercise. The difference in weight can tell you how many pints of water to drink, with each pound lost equating to one pint of water needed to replenish.
Water is the Winner
While sports drinks stocked with electrolytes might seem tempting, nothing replenishes hydration in the body quite like water. You can source water from more than just the faucet as well. Fruits and vegetables tend to have a high water content, allowing the body to replenish from a seemingly different source. Sugary drinks such as soda, or caffeine, should also be avoided.
Now that you know how much water to drink, and that water is the drink of choice, it is a good idea to follow these additional tips to avoid dehydration:
- Drink water before exercising, not just during, to avoid making your heart work harder than it has to.
- Drink water even when you aren’t planning on exerting energy. A day of sitting in the sun can be just as dehydrating as exercise.
Sources: American Heart Association