The key to staying safe and healthy this summer is staying hydrated.
1. Drink plenty of fresh water
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, daily fluid intake recommendations vary by age, sex, pregnancy, and breastfeeding. Start by drinking a cup of water each morning when you wake up & a glass before bed. Have another glass with every meal. Drink one or two cups after working out. To ward off dehydration, drink fluids gradually throughout the day.
2. Know the signs of dehydration
Does your skin feel dry, irritated, inflamed, itchy, or sensitive? That’s a sign of dehydration. Experiencing a headache or feeling dizzy or fatigued? These are signs, too. Muscle cramps, rapid breathing, fainting, and not urinating (or having very dark yellow urine) are others. If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, the simple solution is to get out of the heat and drink plenty of liquids.
3. Check your urine
A good measurement of hydration is the colour of your urine. Pale urine, similar to the colour of straw, indicates proper hydration while darker urine is a sign that you need more water. A dark yellow or amber colour means you may have mild to severe dehydration. Of course, other medications and health conditions could affect this. If you’re concerned about the colour of your urine, consult with your health provider.
4. Avoid alcohol, sugary drinks and caffeine
Tricky fact—some liquids work against hydration! Drinks like coffee, sugary sodas, beer, wine and hard liquor, lemonade, sweet tea, energy drinks, smoothies, and flavoured milk are all culprits. They are loaded with sugar, sodium, and other ingredients that remove water from your tissues. Consider swapping some of these out daily or rehydrating with more water for each dehydrating drink you consume.
5. Cool down
Proper hydration isn’t just about drinking water—it’s about regulating your body temperature, too. During summer, when the risk for heat stroke is at its highest, wear light, loose-fitting clothing in light colours; schedule strenuous sports and physical activities during cooler times of the day; protect yourself from the sun with hats and other shade accessories; take drink breaks often, and mist yourself with a spray bottle if you become overheated.
6. Eat foods with high water content
Did you know that approximately 80% of our water intake comes from drinking water? The other 20% comes from food. All whole fruits and vegetables contain some water, but snack on these for maximum benefit: cucumbers, celery, tomatoes, radishes, peppers, cauliflower, watermelon, spinach, strawberries, broccoli, and grapefruit. They all contain 90% water or higher.
7. Replenish when you sweat
Play a sport? Heading out on a hike? It’s essential to drink water throughout these activities. Your sweat rate, the humidity, and how long you’ve exercised are all factors to consider. Proper hydration means getting enough water before, during, and after exercise. The general rule is that you should drink about 250 ml of water before exercising to allow the muscular system to work efficiently. After training, you need to consume at least half a litre of water to replace the fluids lost through sweat. During the workout, it is advisable to consume about half a litre of water (for a one-hour workout). If you are exercising for more than an hour, then after the workout water is not enough. You should replenish your lost electrolytes with either a sports drink or fruits.
8. 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 aeroplanes 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.
9. Infuse with flavour
Not a frequent water drinker? Try sprucing up your water by adding a few simple ingredients. Limes, lemons, mint, oranges, berries, cucumbers, and other fruits improve the taste without artificial sweeteners or preservatives. This can help you drink more water than you usually do, too. You can also give coconut water a try. This mineral-rich liquid is packed with potassium, magnesium, sodium, and calcium, so it replenishes lost fluids and electrolytes from exercise and hot climates quickly.
10. Consider a probiotic
Our bodies are home to good and bad bacteria. They’re in our mouth, gut, and skin. Probiotics are living microorganisms found in yoghurt and other cultured foods and supplements that can help improve your body’s bacteria. Taking a probiotic can help improve your immune system, protect against infection, and improve your digestion and absorption of food and nutrients—including water.
It's one of the most difficult summers for some people so stay safe, cool, and hydrated !!