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Water. It’s one of the most important elements for all living things. Up to 60 percent of the human adult body is made of water. It’s essential for biochemical reactions, supplying nutrients throughout the body and removing waste, and maintaining blood circulation and body temperature. It aids in digestion, prevents constipation, cushions joints, stabilizes the heartbeat, and protects vital organs and tissues.
Getting enough water every day is essential to keeping your body functioning correctly. Your body needs more water when you’re in warmer climates, physically active, running a fever, and having diarrhea or vomiting. It’s easy to go about your day without thinking about how much water you’ve had to drink, or forget to take those sips until you start to feel bad. But, especially in the summer heat, water is vital to helping your body stay healthy and hydrated.
🌞💦 How to stay hydrated during the hot summer?
1. Drink plenty of water!
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, daily fluid intake recommendations vary by age, gender, pregnancy and breastfeeding. Start by drinking a glass of water every morning when you wake up, or a glass before bedtime. Drink another glass with each meal. Drink one or two glasses after exercise. To avoid dehydration, drink fluids gradually throughout the day, and this can also be accomplished by having our stainless steel sports water bottle on hand that will keep your drinks cool throughout the day and will be a great help in staying hydrated.
2. Recognize the dehydration signs:
Do you feel dry, irritated, inflamed, itchy or sensitive skin? That's a sign of dehydration. Do you have a headache or feel dizzy or fatigued? These are also signs. Cramping muscles, rapid breathing, fainting and not urinating (or having very dark urine) are others. If you experience any of these symptoms, the simplest solution is to get out of the heat and drink plenty of fluids. There are small over-the-counter options like Pedialyte and Hydralyte that balance electrolytes and sodium with dehydration as well. If your dehydration is severe, call 911.
3. Limit alcohol, sugary drinks and/or caffeine:
Drinks like coffee, sugary sodas, beer, wine and strong liquor, lemonade, sweet tea, energy drinks, smoothies and flavored milk are all culprits. They are loaded with sugar, sodium and other ingredients that draw water out of the tissues. Consider replacing some of these drinks daily or rehydrating with more water for each dehydrating beverage you consume.
4. Cool off:
Adequate hydration is not only about drinking water, but also about regulating body temperature. During the summer, when the risk of heat stroke is higher, wear lightweight, loose-fitting, light-colored clothing; schedule sports and strenuous physical activities during cooler times of the day; protect yourself from the sun with hats and other sun shade accessories; take frequent water breaks; and mist yourself with a spray bottle if you become overheated.
5. Eat foods with high water content:
Did you know that approximately 80 percent of our water intake comes from drinking water? The other 20 percent comes from food. All whole fruits and vegetables contain some water, but for maximum benefits, eat the following: cucumbers, celery, tomatoes, radishes, peppers, cauliflower, watermelon, spinach, strawberries, broccoli, and grapefruit. They all contain 90 percent water or more.
6. Replenish when you sweat:
Do you play sports or go hiking? It is essential to drink water during these activities. Sweat rate, humidity, and duration of exercise are factors to consider. Adequate hydration involves drinking enough water before, during and after exercise. The American Council on Exercise recommends these guidelines before, during and after a workout:
Drink 17-20 oz. two to three hours before exercise.
Drink 8 oz. 20-30 minutes before exercise.
Drink 7-10 oz. every 10-20 minutes during exercise.
Drink 8 oz. no more than 30 minutes after exercise.
7. Choose water during flights:
Airports and flights can be very dehydrating. It’s not easy to drink as much as you usually do when you’re on the go for summer vacation, and airplanes are known for low-humidity air, which contributes to low hydration at touchdown. Pack an empty reusable water bottle with you in your carry-on bag, and then fill it up with water after going through security. Skip the vending machines at the airport and ask for water when the beverage cart passes by mid-flight.
8. Infuse flavor:
Don't drink water often? Try flavoring your water by adding a few simple ingredients. Limes, lemons, mint, oranges, berries, cucumbers and other fruits enhance the flavor without artificial sweeteners or preservatives. This can also help you drink more water than you typically do. You can also try coconut water. This mineral-rich liquid is packed with potassium, magnesium, sodium and calcium, so it quickly replenishes fluids and electrolytes lost from exercise and hot climates.
9. Consider taking a probiotic:
Our body is home to both good and bad bacteria. They are in our mouth, gut, and skin. Probiotics are live microorganisms found in yogurt and other cultured foods and supplements that can help improve the bacteria in your body. Taking a probiotic can help boost your immune system, protect against infection, and improve digestion and absorption of food and nutrients, including water. Probiotics also help with several conditions associated with dehydration, including diarrhea.
Stay safe, cool, and hydrated this summer. And remember, if you’re experiencing any symptoms of dehydration or heat stroke,call 911 or visit a medical physician.
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