Long days full of sunshine and fun. It’s everything that summer was meant to be, but sometimes you just need to beat the heat and keep your body hydrated.
While you know you should be drinking water almost constantly, sometimes that’s difficult, and other times it’s just plain boring. We’ve got some quick tips to zip up your summer hydration efforts with excitement and innovation.
These tips are meant to cover you from top to bottom, inside and out. It’s your one-stop for staying hydrated this summer.
How to stay hydrated
Most people understand the importance of being hydrated. It’s not just about keeping you cool and supporting healthy and attractive looking skin.
Hydration is essential for every system in your body. Not enough fluid and your risk dehydration, which starts with dizziness, confusion, and dark urine and can progress to rapid heartbeats, fainting, and even death. It’s clear that staying hydrated is crucial.
You don’t just get fluids from the drinks you consume, foods can add a lot of fluids to your diet, too. The great news is that a lot of fresh fruits and vegetables that are ripe and their most delicious in the summer months are packed with moisture.
Just as important as adding water-rich foods to your diet, avoid foods that can dehydrate you. While you know that salty foods are a big culprit, did you know that cured meats, popcorn, soy sauce, fried foods, sugary drinks, coffee, and alcohol can cause you to be dehydrated?
The most interesting thing about this news is that three of those categories are beverages. If you’re turning to a soda because you think it’s a good way to rehydrate, you’re doing your body a disservice.
3. Don’t skip meals
When you’re hot, you’re often not as hungry as you are when the weather is cooler. While this may be the case, we’ve just discovered that much of our body’s fluid comes from foods, so sticking to regular meals is important.
4. Wear light clothing
Sweating is a major contributor to dehydration. While it’s probably not possible to avoid sweating, you can dress for the weather and prevent overheating. Try to choose lightweight and light-colored clothing as they tend to be cooler. Clothing that “breathes” like cotton is also a good option.
5. Before, during, and after
If you’re going to exercise, it’s important to drink water before you exercise, during, and after for proper recovery. Electrolytes are easily lost during hot weather, and they need to be replenished to keep your body in balance. Many sports drinks feature electrolytes, which makes them ideal for exercise in the summer.
6. Seek shade
If you’re spending time outside, look for shade whenever possible. Avoiding UV rays can dramatically change how hot you feel. The standard is a 10 to 15° difference between the temperature of something in the shade and an object that’s in direct sunlight.
7. Set a timer
This might seem like a bit of overkill, but for some, this tip is crucial. Set a timer for every hour or sooner, and drink half a cup of water when it goes off.
If you’re outside on a windy day or in high altitudes, the sweat your body produces to cool you off is whisked away before you really notice it. You may feel like you’re doing fine, but you’re slowly losing fluids and need to be reminded to replenish.
8. Know your meds
This is one that may surprise you, but there are a lot of medications that can cause dehydration. The elderly tend to be especially vulnerable to this, as they often take more medications that cause dehydration.
Check with your doctor or pharmacist to see if any of your medications are ones to look out for. If they are, just know that you have to pay even more attention to the amount of fluids you’re drinking.
To put it simply
Great weather is meant to be enjoyed, and you should get out there and play whenever you have the opportunity. The key is trying to avoid dehydration and remembering to hydrate yourself as much as possible, so your body stays in tip-top working condition.
You can avoid losing fluids by remembering to eat and drink your meals on your regular schedule, seeking shade whenever possible, and wearing light clothing. Upping your hydration is another matter and includes transforming your diet from one that is salty and features coffee and alcohol to one that focuses on fruits, vegetables, and water. With some diligence, you can easily master hydration.