In the past couple of weeks, heat waves have been popping up all over the country. The relentless summer heat will soon be here in Texas, but high temperatures will be prevalent everywhere. With that heat comes the need to be even more cognizant than usual of the amount of water we are taking in. The summer heat drains us of H2O, and adding exercise to the heat can make staying hydrated seem like an impossible task. However, staying hydrated is vital to your health. See how you can make sure you get enough water this summer and year-round.
To determine how to stay hydrated, you’ve got to figure out how much water you really need. Growing up, many of us were told that 8 eight-ounce glasses of water per day was enough water to keep us hydrated. That might be true for some of us but if you are active, spend any time in the heat, or weigh more than 120 pounds, you’ll need more. How much more? The new standard to keep hydrated is to drink (in ounces) half of your body’s weight (in pounds). For example, if you weigh 150lbs, you would aim to have 75oz of water a day. With the old standard of 64oz a day, anyone over 128lbs would not be getting enough water every day.
Getting enough water on a daily basis can be a struggle if you’re not used to it. Luckily, there are several steps you can take to make it part of your regular routine. Start your day, first thing in the morning, with a big glass of water. A solid night’s sleep is great for your body but after about eight hours, your body is bound to be thirsty when you wake up. Filling up a water bottle or having a large glass of cold water will wake you up while also starting you on a course to hydration. On that note, carrying a water bottle with you at home, at work, in the car, etc., is the perfect way to make sure you always have water. The more you have water within arm’s reach, the more you’ll drink and the more hydrated you’ll stay. Lastly, when going out for a meal or for a drink, order water with whatever else you order. That way, you can sip on it throughout the night, and make sure you have a full glass of water between drinks.
If you don’t like to drink plain water, there are other ways to get your daily recommended amount. Fruit and vegetables are mostly water. In the summer, bumping up your fruit intake will help you to stay hydrated as well as to get some necessary nutrients that keep you healthy and energized in the heat. Sparkling water, such as Topo Chico or La Croix, still hydrates you will providing a little extra flavor. To make plain water more palatable, you can add fresh fruits and herbs to make it taste totally new. Adding in lime, lemon, berries, cucumber, or mint (or a mixture of all of them!) can make boring water taste delicious. Freeze them if you’d like and pop them in your water bottle at the beginning of the day. These additions also create a detox water that can help with inflammation and eliminate toxins. You’ll get the great flavors plus some added electrolytes!
So, how can you tell if you’re hydrated? This is a great question and, as the weather gets hotter and more humid, an important one too. If you’re accustomed to being hydrated all the time and monitor your water intake consistently, you will probably notice if you’re hydrated or not just by the way you feel. If this is your first time monitoring your water intake, the clearest way to monitor your hydration levels is simply by the color of your urine. A lighter color, close to clear or light yellow, means you’re hydrated. If your urine color is dark yellow or even darker, drink more water as soon as possible. Other signs of mild dehydration include: lightheadedness, headache, fatigue, and dry skin.
Dehydration can be very serious, but don’t let the possibility of it stop you from enjoying yourself! Try your best to carry water with you everywhere you go this summer. Use these tips to stay hydrated as you go through your daily routine, as well as when you do a fun activity, and don’t let a dislike of drinking plain water be a deterrent for taking proper care of your body. If we missed a good tip for staying hydrated, let us know what it is in a comment below.
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