Pop quiz. When was the last time you took a long drink of water? A minute ago? One hour? This morning? It’s important to stay hydrated, especially in the summer. Dehydration can cause fatigue, headaches and contribute to serious health problems like heat stroke if it is not addressed.
If you aren’t a super fan of hauling a bottle of water with you everywhere you go, there are other ways to ensure you are getting hydrated every day. Here are eight ways to make sure you stay hydrated this summer.
Drink plenty of fluids.
Many people have heard the common advice to drink eight cups of water every day. While this is a good number to go off of, a person should drink more or less according to their needs. Pay attention to your body and drink more if you feel thirsty, are getting headaches or feeling lightheaded. “Staying hydrated is an important tool for building a strong immune system and ensuring organs are functioning properly,” said Becca Lund, MDS, at Pointe Meadows Health and Rehabilitation. You should drink water throughout the day, but any liquid counts toward your intake. One exception is alcohol, which can actually make you dehydrated. So enjoy your water, milk, coffee, and juice, but be aware of the extra calories and sugar.
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Eat Your Fluids Too.
Your craving for watermelon during the summer has its benefits. Fruits and vegetables with a high water content can help you stay hydrated.
Watermelon, oranges, cucumbers, grapes and many other foods contain a lot of water. If you’re having a hard time drinking enough fluids, eating fruits and vegetables can be beneficial.
Drink Before, During and After Exercise.
Don’t wait until after your workout to guzzle a gallon of water. For the best hydration, and the best workout, drink fluids before, during and after you exercise. Drink a cup of water at least four hours before a workout and then half a cup every 10 or 15 minutes while you exercise. Weigh yourself before and after you exercise to determine how much water you lost and drink enough after the workout to double that amount. Not only will this help your body stay hydrated, but it will give you the energy you need to have a good workout as well.
Don’t Wait Until You Are Thirsty.
Don’t start drinking only when you begin to feel thirsty. Once you feel thirsty, you are already in the beginning stages of dehydration. The best way to stay hydrated is to space out your fluid intake throughout the day and drink before you feel like you need to.
Look Out For Number One.
When it comes to being hydrated, it pays to look out for No. 1 – as in your urine. If your output is pale yellow, you are getting enough to drink. If it is dark yellow, you need to drink more. Your urine is one of the best indicators of whether you are getting enough to drink.
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Pay Attention To How Much Kids Drink.
Keeping kids hydrated can be difficult, especially as they get older. Give them something to drink with every meal and make sure they are drinking water when they play outside or exercise. Watch them for signs of dehydration and make sure they are getting the fluids they need.
Keep Drinks Cool and Accessible.
People tend to drink more when there are cold options available to them. Have cold pitchers of water or lemonade or coolers filled with ice and water when you are outdoors so there is always something for people to grab for refreshment.
Make Drinks More Enticing.
Drinking water all day can get tiring, and people often crave something sweet. Change things up and drink low-calorie sports drinks, diluted fruit juice or flavored water. Fill a pitcher with fresh fruit and ice water to add a little sweetness to the drink without too much extra sugar.
Grabbing a cold, refreshing drink in the summer sounds wonderful, but getting enough to drink can be harder than you would think. Plan ahead and pay attention to what you are drinking to make sure you stay well-hydrated.
A version of this story was published by the Daily Herald.