Warm days and breezy nights summon you to spend more time outdoors in the summer. However, you can easily become dehydrated in the hot weather. The combination of dehydration and heat can cause heat stroke or heat exhaustion. Dehydration is more common than you think, and you may not recognize it until it’s too late. Stay safe by following these tips.
1. Drink Enough Water
Although it seems obvious that consuming water will help you stay hydrated, you might not know how much to drink. Also, many people wonder what other beverages count as water.
The age-old advice that you should drink six to eight glasses of water a day has been criticized lately. The ideal water intake depends on the individual. Trust your thirst; it’s one of the earliest signs of dehydration. Dark-colored urine is another.
Some other symptoms of dehydration include:
• Mild nausea
• Dry or chapped lips
• Dry eyes
Listen to your body. If you’re often thirsty or have bright yellow urine, you might want to increase your water intake. Juice, sports drinks, tea, coffee and soda are mildly hydrating. They’re better than nothing. However, the best way to hydrate is with good old H2O.
Drink it consistently throughout the day. If you only guzzle water periodically, your body can’t use it as efficiently. Add fresh fruit, such as lemon or watermelon, to your water to make it tastier and more refreshing. If you have trouble remembering to drink fluids, keep a water bottle with you.
2. Pay Attention to Your Nutrition
Are you on a low-carb diet? Your hydration may be affected.
Your body needs electrolytes and carbohydrates to absorb fluids well. However, electrolytes levels drop when you sweat. Make sure that you’re consuming enough sodium, calcium, magnesium and potassium.
You might want to grab an electrolyte beverage if you’re performing activities in high temperatures or working out for more than an hour at a time in the summer.
Foods such as melon, citrus fruits, cucumbers, celery, lettuce and tomatoes are nutrient-rich sources of fluid. Even eggs and yogurt can be hydrating.
Chia seeds help you stay hydrated because they absorb up to 12 times their weight in water. Soak them ahead of time, and add them to yogurt, oatmeal or salads. You can also make chia pudding. As you digest the seeds, you’ll keep your system hydrated.
3. Watch Your Alcohol Intake
Summer is the season for relaxing, and it’s nice to have a few frozen cocktails or beers when you’re at the beach or a barbecue. However, alcohol can dehydrate you quickly, especially if you’re sweating in the sun. If you drink, match each alcoholic beverage with a glass of water to stay hydrated.
4. Notice Your Sweat Levels
If you don’t sweat very much, you might be at risk of heat stroke when you’re active in the summer. On the other hand, excessive sweating can leave you parched.
Try weighing yourself before and after exercising to gauge how much you’re sweating. If you lose weight during the session, you’re also shedding water. Every pound that you drop equates to 16 ounces of fluid. Knowing how much weight you lost will help you replenish your fluids adequately and prepare better for your workout sessions.
Try consuming 7 to 10 ounces of water for every 20 or 30 minutes that you exercise. Also, drink plenty of water the night before you plan to be active outdoors, and make sure that you continue to drink fluids after you finish exercising.
If you don’t sweat enough, spray your skin with water while you’re outside to prevent yourself from overheating. This can help you cool down and sweat less if you perspire heavily too. You might also want to check with your doctor if you overheat easily in the summer.
5. Monitor Your Water Intake
When you’re busy having fun, you don’t necessarily pay attention to your fluid intake. You might assume that you drink enough water, but logging your consumption ensures that you have an accurate assessment.
Using a water bottle can help if you know how much fluid it holds. You’ll know that you drank 50 fluid ounces of water if you filled up your 25-ounce bottle twice.
You can also try the deduction method. Fill up a pitcher with the amount of water that you’re aiming to drink for the day and use that every time you serve yourself. You’ll instantly notice if you’re not drinking enough. Several apps exist to help you keep track of your water intake too.
6. Start Your Day with Water
Consider keeping a bottle or glass of water on your nightstand and drink it first thing in the morning. You’ll start your day with hydration. You’ll also reduce the likelihood of irritating your bladder with coffee, which can make you urinate more and dehydrate you.
7. Eat Frozen Treats
Popsicles aren’t just for kids. They’re ideal summer treats because they keep you cool while hydrating you. Stick to those that are made with real fruit juice. You can even make your own by pouring juice or smoothies into molds.
8. Maintain Good Gut Health
Staying hydrated keeps your digestive tract healthy. Also, when your gut is colonized with beneficial bacteria, it does a better job absorbing nutrients and electrolytes, which can keep you hydrated.
Consider eating fermented foods or those with probiotics. You can also take probiotic supplements to maintain sufficient levels of beneficial bacteria.
9. Drink Before You Snack
While you don’t always want to make a habit of downing water before you eat because it can dilute your stomach acid and affect your digestion, it might be a good idea in the summer. Sometimes, hunger cues are actually a signal that you’re thirsty. Drinking water can curb those cravings and hydrate you at the same time.
10. De-Stress with Herbal Tea
At the end of the day, unwind with a mug of herbal tea. As long as it’s not caffeinated, it won’t keep you up at night. It’s a great way to boost your hydration and prep you for another long day in the sun.
The older you are, the more your natural hydration mechanisms are affected. Therefore, if you are an elderly adult or care for one, be even more vigilant about your water intake. Staying hydrated can help you stay health and active all summer long.