Beat the Heat This Summer!
Summer is officially upon us! With higher temps and humidity comes more sweating and fluid loss. And with more time spent outdoors soaking up the sun and summer activities like swimming, golf, hiking, or beach walking, it is important to stay hydrated.
There are a number of different fluid recommendations that you may have heard, i.e. drink half of your body weight in pounds in ounces of water, drink 8 cups of water a day, etc. These recommendations may all have some merit, but are also rather technical. Are you really going to do the math and count the ounces? And what about the 20% of fluid that most people receive from food (in addition to beverages)? To ditch the counting, use these 3 practical tips to stay hydrated.
1. Monitor your urine!
This is huge. If you are going to do one thing, do this. Strive for the straw colored urine (see below). If you are much darker, you are likely headed towards dehydration. Where are you on this spectrum?
2. Listen to your thirst signals
Your body is trying to tell you if you are dehydrated; listen up. Below are mild to moderate dehydration signals.
- Dry, sticky mouth
- Sleepiness or tiredness
- Decreased urine output
- Few or no tears when crying
- Dry skin
- Dizziness or lightheadedness
- Increased hunger
- Decreased focus
If you have ANY of these, drink up! Stay ahead of thirst by drinking water throughout the day.
3. Go easy on the alcohol (and caffeine)
While you may crave that cold beer while lounging on the beach or after working out outdoors, approach with caution. Alcohol is a considerable diuretic, meaning your body produces more urine, resulting in a greater body loss of fluid. Drinking four 2-oz. shots of liquor can result in the elimination of up to 1 quart (aka 4 cups) of liquid as urine. So go easy on the alcohol and make sure to hydrate as you imbibe; down a cup of water after each drink to lessen the dehydration. Caffeine has the same effect, if to a lesser extent, so drink coffee, tea, and soda in moderation. Clear, unsweetened beverages are best.
4. Be careful working outdoors
Try to plan workouts in the morning or evenings when temperatures are not peaking. If you are working out for over an hour in the summer heat or sweat profusely, a sports drink may be a good idea to replenish electrolytes.
Struggling to up the fluid intake? Other behaviors that promote good hydration are tactics like keeping a refillable water bottle on hand, setting calendar reminders to drink up while at work, using tools like fruit infusers to make water more palatable, and consuming plenty of produce, which has a high water content. Looking for a product to drink besides water? Try seltzer with slices of fruit, unsweetened tea (decaf if you are drinking a lot of this), or La Croix, which is seltzer naturally flavored without artificial sweeteners.
Stay cool this summer!