It’s summer time again, and that means record-breaking temperatures are in effect all around the country. Whether you’re planning a vacation, engaging in outdoor summer-time projects, or just having fun in the sun with friends, hydration should be your number-one priority. You may think you have hydration covered with a cooler or refrigerator full of beverages, but don’t mistake quenching your thirst for hydration.
To stay hydrated, you need only one thing: water, and lots of it.
The advantage of water over every other drink option is that it serves only to replenish and keep you hydrated. Sugar-laden drinks, like sodas and fruit juices, can be tough on your stomach when dehydrated. Additionally, caffeine is a diuretic, which means you lose much more fluid when urinating—a factor you want to avoid when hydration is a priority.
Sports drinks can be a good choice for those engaging in strenuous activities like exercise, but alongside the electrolytes can be added sugar and calories, both of which you may want to avoid for dietary purposes. Lastly, fruits and vegetables are a healthy, food-based source of water, so consider them as snacks over the alternatives.
So, exactly how much water should you be drinking? The general consensus is a pint of water per pound of sweat lost, but since you’re not always going to have a scale around to see how much weight you’re losing in sweat, knowing the signs of dehydration will tell you when you need to be drinking more water.
The first sign of dehydration is thirst. If you’re thirsty, then dehydration has already set in. Next, the color of your urine is a key indicator of your state of hydration. The darker it is, the more dehydrated you are. You want it to be as clear as possible. Lastly, if you’re not sweating during rigorous activity, then you might be nearing the extreme form of dehydration known as heat exhaustion.
You now have all that you need to see to it that you stay hydrated in the most extreme heat summer time throws at you. Know the signs of dehydration, make sure you have access to plenty of water, and you’ll beat the summer’s heat and stay safe and healthy.