By Betty Murray
Water is essential for health and wellness, but staying hydrated in 100+ degree heat isn’t easy. There are serious health consequences of dehydration, including: heat exhaustion, heat stroke and in extreme cases, death. Don’t assume you can do without drinking water, and plenty of it.
The good news is that dehydration can be prevented and treated with water. The secret to avoiding dehydration is drinking water all throughout the day, not only when you are thirsty. If you wait until you are thirsty to drink water, your body is already suffering dehydration. Thirst is one indicator of dehydration.
The general rule-of-thumb is that adults should drink eight eight-ounce glasses of water each day, however, even those eight glasses are often not enough, especially in the summer. Men and women should drink at least half their body weight in ounces of water every day. If you weigh 150 pounds, drink at least 75 ounces of water a day. If you spend much time outside working or exercising, you should drink more water.
You can flavor your water to variety with lemon, lime or even cucumbers, but do not be replace water with sodas, coffee or any other beverages. Some fruits and vegetables like celery, tomatoes and watermelon are other sources of water, but should not replace any of your daily water. Your body needs water to function properly and stay healthy, and there is no substitute for water.
To stay hydrated in the summer heat, follow these tips:
- Carry a reusable water bottle with you at all times. Having water readily available is key to drinking enough water each day. Keep track of the amount of water you drink each day by placing a rubber band around the neck of your water bottle each time you empty it.
- Drink water before, during and after exercise. Sweating during exercise causes significant water loss. While working out, drink a half a cup of water every 15 minutes. Weigh yourself before and after exercise, and drink two or more glasses of water for every pound lost during exercise.
- Drink before eating and with meals. Drinking water between each meal and with each meal will not only keep your body hydrated, but can also help manage weight loss, as water fills your stomach and can make your stomach feel fuller faster.
- Replace lost electrolytes with sports drinks. Sports drinks should only be used if you exercise in extreme heat for more than an hour. If you are outside for less than an hour, use water to replace electrolytes.
- Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables. Eat at least five cups of fruits and veggies every day to stay hydrated and keep your body healthy.
Make hydration a priority. If you have children be sure they drink plenty of water regularly throughout the day, especially when playing outside in the heat.
Betty Murray, CN, HHC, RYT is a Certified Nutritionist & Holistic Health Counselor, founder of the Dallas-based integrative medical center, Wellness and founder of the Metabolic Blueprint wellness program. Betty’s nutrition counseling practice specializes in metabolic and digestive disorders and weight loss resistance. A master of the biochemistry of the body, Betty teaches her clients how to utilize nutritional interventions to improve their health. Betty is a member of the Institute of Functional Medicine and the National Association of Nutrition Professionals.