Summer Hydration Tips
How paradoxical. We live beside the vast Pacific Ocean yet we face the most dangerous drought in history. Water’s extreme importance influences critical factors, externally and internally.
Rationing water for our own personal consumption is paramount for optimal health. Discover how and why hydration is so essential to our wellbeing, especially during the hot summer months ahead.
Approximately 65% of our bodies are composed of water. It is the element upon which almost every mechanism of functioning is dependent. It stimulates clearer thinking, transports nutrients, aids in metabolism, maintains cellular equilibrium, bolsters gastrointestinal system competence, drives removal of waste products, regulates body temperature, and provides countless other key functions as well.
Nerves in our stomach communicate with our brain signaling fullness based on stomach expansion. You may hasten weight loss by cutting your hunger and calorie intake by drinking 8 oz. water before and during your meals.
In addition, thirst is often mistaken for hunger, leading us to overeat, when our bodies actually need more fluid, not more calories. Whenever you feel “hungry”, ask yourself if you’re truly physically hungry, or not. Try drinking a hot or cold beverage instead of eating and see if all you really needed was liquid, not food.
Strong mental focus, concentration and acuity rely on adequate hydration. Conversely, fatigue and tiredness are often linked to dehydration. To perk up your senses, try using a glass of water instead of using coffee or other liquid stimulants.
Reputable studies have determined that dehydration is not the source of all acne, but drinking more water may help flush out impurities in the skin, resulting in clearer, more glowing skin.
Typically, by the time we feel thirsty, we are already experiencing dehydration.
- At the Day’s Beginning - To give your body a strong foundation, drink 8 oz. water when you wake up and before you go out for the day.
- After Voiding - Replace what your kidneys expel. Follow your output (urination) with 4+ oz. fluid.
- After Elimination - Easy, smooth transport of waste products through the GI system is reliant on adequate hydration. Simply doubling your water intake may help resolve constipation. This is especially important when eating a diet high in insoluble fiber. Follow elimination with 4+oz. fluid.
EXERCISE - (SPORTS HYDRATION)
- Before exercise, drink 4-8 oz. water; during exercise, drink 3-5 oz. water every 20 minutes; after exercise, drink 8+ oz. water.
- Intensity and duration of exercise affect hydration and fluid needs. When exercise lasts less than one hour, water is best. When exercise lasts longer than one hour and is moderate to high-intensity, use electrolyte based fluids.
- Take breaks to hydrate throughout your routine. When exercising outdoors, bring water with you or know where water fountains exist.
- Well-trained athletes perspire more than those who are less fit. Extreme physical effort and elevated body temperature requires a more efficient cooling system prompting more extreme perspiration.
Children can readily experience dehydration due to many factors, including extensive exercise (especially outdoors in summer heat), fever, and diarrhea. This summer, be aware of children’s long hours at outdoor camps, sports programs, or days spent at the beach, park or pool. Activity indoors during peak hours of sun exposure (10-2) can help protect against water loss.
CHILDREN'S WATER NEEDS
Children need at least six 8 oz. cups of water daily. Additionally, they should drink 8 oz. water per hour while engaging in recreational outdoor summer exercise. Add another 8 ounces per half hour of strenuous activity.
TEACH CHILDREN HOW TO DETECT THEIR NEED FOR FLUID
Children should be taught how to detect their need for hydration based on a quick urine check. Clear/pale yellow nearly odorless urine indicates adequate hydration. Absence of urination or dark-yellow, strong-smelling urine indicates dehydration.
CONDITIONS ASSOCIATED WITH GREATER FLUID NEEDS
- Salt, Sugar, Carbohydrate, Alcohol
These elements tend to increase needs for fluid.
- Gender and Body Size
Men generally perspire more than women and people with larger body size sweat more than those who are trimmer.
- Air Travel, Temperature, Humidity, Altitude
Plane flights and high air temperature, humidity, and altitude increase fluid needs.
GLASS vs PLASTIC
Invest in a glass water bottle to avoid any potential leaching of chemicals from plastic water bottles (BPA and others) and to lessen your carbon impact on the planet.
ALTERNATIVES TO WATER
When adults and children don’t drink enough water, try alternatives that may be more appealing, thirst quenching and just as rehydrating: “spa water” (add mint, cucumber and/or sliced fruit to water), diluted 100-percent juice or sports drinks. Ice cubes or popsicles made with fresh fruit can make hydration fun and yummy.
To build a habit of regular fluid intake throughout the day, set a friendly reminder on your phone. Also, keep your water bottle in sight while at work or keep a pitcher of chilled spa water in close reach while at home.
This summer, take measures to help modify the drought, but not at your body’s expense. Enjoy the pleasures that come with substantial hydration. It’s a critical and refreshing practice; you’ll feel the difference.