Fitness & Exercise

Staying Hydrated in the Heat of Summer

Posted on July 1, 2009. Filed under: Fitness & Exercise, Health & Wellness | Tags: , , , , |

With summer officially in season and temperatures consistently in the 90s, staying hydrated while working and playing outside is critical.

Water is the most important nutrient in our diet and plays a key role in regulating our body temperature, which is extremely important while working and playing in the heat. If you do not stay hydrated during this time of year, you run the risk of dehydration and heat stroke.

On average an individual needs 6 to 8 glasses of water per day to stay sufficiently hydrated. However, drinking water is not the only source of water intake.

Consuming fresh fruits is a great way to include extra water in the diet. Fruits such as apples, pears, watermelons and bananas have a relatively high water content and not only hydrate, but also replenish electrolytes and carbohydrates lost during physical activity.

The key to staying hydrated is remembering to drink fluids before the feelings of thirst emerge, which is the first sign of dehydration. The early stages of dehydration can also produce feelings of hunger and a desire to eat.

Here are a few tips for staying hydrated and beating the summer heat:

  • Skip the soda, coffee, tea, and alcohol. These drinks can dehydrate
  • Flavored water, such as Propel or Vitamin Water, is a great alternative to water for those desiring a hint of taste
  • Diluted sport drinks, such as Gatorade with a little added water, are great for those individuals active outside for long periods of time, but may contain a high number of calories
  • A good rule of thumb is to have a “gulp” of water every 15 minutes while doing an outdoor activity.

Don’t have flavored water readily available? Try these neat ways to “spruce” up your water:

Mint Water
Twist or bruise 1 cup of peppermint, spearmint, or other mint. Place in a clean half-gallon container. Fill the container with fresh, cool water. Chill in refrigerator. Strain and serve on ice. You can also add honey for a little extra sweetness.

Orange and Green Apple Water
Slice one orange. Spread some lemon juice on 2-3 slices of green apple. Put the apple, the orange, and half a lemon juice in a large pitcher. Fill the half of the pitcher with ice cubes. Fill with water. Let it rest 24 hours in the fridge before serving.

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