The summer months bring with them extreme heat. But you still love them for the delicious seasonal fruits and vegetables of summer, as well as for the joy of enjoying ice cream underneath the glaring summer sun. For many people, summer is a season filled with endless fun and exciting outdoor activities. However, you shouldn’t take the summer heat lightly. When you spend time under the harsh summer sun, your body ends up working overtime to moderate its temperature. Not only does the heat increase your heart rate, but it also speeds up your metabolism, thus making you prone to extreme fatigue. The only way you can protect yourself against the harms of the strong summer heat is by ensuring that you stay hydrated.
The Amazing Benefits of Water
Water constitutes about 60% of your entire body weight. Water is crucial in order for the body to function properly. It aids all of the body’s metabolic activities and also helps in regulating the overall body temperature. Other functions supported by water are your body’s digestive function and blood circulation.
In the summer months, the days can become extremely hot, and this increase in temperature causes the body’s perspiration levels to dramatically increase. The only way you can boost metabolic function and protect your body from overworking is to stay properly hydrated.
However, before you start making a conscious effort to drink more water, you must understand that the generally accepted hydration guidelines vary for each individual. But, according to the general rule established by the Institute of Medicine, the optimum amount of water intake is 2.7L for women and 3.7L for men per day.
If you keep a water container with you at all times, then you will be reminded to drink water every time you look at it. Constantly taking sips of water throughout the day can easily help you meet your daily hydration goal. It will also keep your mouth hydrated and keep your mind and body fully refreshed.
Consider buying a reusable water bottle or investing in a water bottle carrier so that you can keep water with you in any setting. For example, when you are running errands, working, or simply sitting at home, having a water bottle with you will push you to drink more water.
Sports Drinks vs Water: Which is Better?
The water benefits mentioned above should make it very clear that consuming water is absolutely essential for the human body. Whenever the body feels thirsty, you must drink water to quench your thirst. But many people think that sports drinks are a great substitute for water, if not a better alternative. Sports drinks do make you feel thoroughly energized after consumption, but are they really better than water at helping your body stay hydrated?
The short answer is no, and here’s why. Sports drinks not only contain a very high sugar content, but they also fail to thoroughly quench your thirst. Furthermore, unlike water, they are unable to prevent hyponatremia, a condition where the body’s sodium levels become extremely low after excessive activity, according to studies.
Many people think that they are keeping themselves properly hydrated by drinking sodas and fizzy drinks. Instead, they are not only ingesting a large amount of unneeded sugar into their body, but they are also failing to fulfill the very need posed by their body: lack of hydration.
When it comes to sports drinks, you can safely consume them when you are exercising, as they do provide a boost of energy by replacing the carbohydrates and electrolytes you have lost as a result of strenuous exercise. However, if you do have the choice, always prioritize water over any sort of sugary drink, as nothing can be better than water for hydration.
Tips to Make Sure you Stay Hydrated
Consume Seasonal Fruits and Vegetables
Since fruits and vegetables have high water content, you should try to incorporate them into your diet as much as you can. Try eating seasonal fruits and vegetables instead of juicing them, as fruit juices available in the market are usually artificially sweetened and do not contain the healthy natural sugars found in fruits.
Vegetables and fruits will not only help you stay hydrated, but they will also provide you with a punch of vitamins and fiber. Hence, by consuming fruits and vegetables in season, you can fulfill your daily nutritional needs while also supplementing your daily fluid intake. Some good summer fruits and vegetables are cucumbers, celery, zucchini, watermelon, pineapple, and cantaloupe, as they have a high water content.
Observe Your Urine Color
When you are dehydrated, your kidneys become severely affected, and this reduces their ability to filter out waste from your body. As the amount of water in your body drops to dangerous levels, your urine also becomes darker and more concentrated. Thus, you should always be observant when it comes to the color of your urine, as it could help you in identifying potential health risk factors within your body. You can always refer to the urine color chart in order to get an idea of your body’s hydration levels.
Hydrate, Exercise, and Repeat
It is extremely important that you always remain aware of the amount of sweat you produce. Always ensure you remain well hydrated during your workout by drinking fluids during or after your workout to make up for the fluids lost through perspiration.
Optimally, according to experts, you should drink about 17 to 20 ounces of water three to four hours before you start exercising.Then you should drink eight ounces of water either 30 minutes before you start working out or during your warm-up session. Finally, always remember to drink about seven ounces of water after every 10-minute interval during your workout.
This short nine-minute Youtube video explains when and how much water you should drink during your workout.
Stay Hydrated to Protect your Health
You must protect your physical wellbeing by staying hydrated. Dehydration can not only jeopardize your health, but it can also lead to long-term problems that might escalate into serious illnesses. You must make a conscious effort so that your body can properly receive the fluid intake that it requires. You can do this by always keeping a water bottle with you. Also, try to stay away from soft drinks and artificial juices, as they can cause you more harm than good in the long run due to the sugar content in them.