Knowing the importance of hydration is the first step to quenching your thirst.
Staying hydrated is important for everybody, but did you know that adults over age sixty-five are more susceptible to heat-related health problems? Prescription medications, chronic illnesses, and poor adaptability to temperature changes all contribute to an increased risk of complications. When the summer heat hits, it's important to find effective strategies for staying hydrated to help mitigate your risk of heat-induced illnesses.
First and foremost, you have to replenish lost fluids. Water is essential to every cell in the body and is the best way to quench your thirst. Although most of us know that our bodies are about 60 percent water, many people still aren't drinking enough to maintain proper hydration. Here's what you can do to keep your body functioning at its best.
Tips for Staying Hydrated
Start your morning with a tall glass of water. After eight hours without water, your body will need fluids. Keeping a glass of water on your nightstand is an easy way to remember to drink when you first wake up, even if you're not a morning person.
Make drinking water as convenient as possible. Find a sturdy reusable water bottle that works for you and take it with you wherever you go. With a convenient way to fill up quickly, you'll find it easier to make good hydration choices throughout the day.
Sip water before, during, and after exercise. This practice will help you stay hydrated on days when you're more physically active. Even something as lowkey as gardening can make you sweat out fluid that needs to be replaced.
Drink a glass of water before every meal. Not only is it an easy way to up your water intake, it may also help prevent overeating by keeping you from mistaking dehydration for hunger.
Eat your fruits and vegetables. Fruits and non-starchy vegetables like grapes, watermelons, tomatoes, and lettuce are packed with water, vitamins, and minerals, making them a no-brainer for summer hydration.
Replenish electrolytes after exercise. During a workout, our bodies lose fluids along with electrolytes. Electrolytes are minerals found in food and certain drinks that perform important tasks in the body like regulating fluid balances and transmitting nerve signals. Bananas, coconut water, small servings of a salty snack, or electrolyte-enriched beverages can keep your levels in check after you hit the gym.
Mix it up. If drinking water feels like a chore, here are some other options to try:
Low-calorie drink mixes like Crystal Light
Water infused with cucumbers, oranges, lemons, limes, or berries (or all of them!)
Unsweetened coffee and tea (although caffeine is a mild diuretic, meaning it increases urine production, a cup or two per day of a caffeinated beverage won't increase your risk of dehydration)
How do you know if drinking all of that water has been enough? Check the color of your urine to get an idea of your hydration status. Colorless or light yellow urine shows proper hydration, while darker shades show that you need more fluids. If you wait until you feel thirsty to drink, you're likely already dehydrated, so keep these hydration tips in mind and stay one sip ahead.
By Samantha Markovitz, NBC-HWC
FamilyDoctor.Org, Hydration: Why It's So Important
WebMD, Top 10 Ways to Stay Hydrated
American Heart Association, Stay Hydrated, Stay Healthy
Mayo Clinic, Nutrition and Healthy Eating
Mayo Clinic, Nutrition and Healthy Eating: Expert Answers
Healthline, How to Prevent an Electrolyte Imbalance