As the summer months quickly approach and outdoor activities are becoming more common, we need to remind ourselves that prolonged sun exposure and excessive perspiration can increase the risk of dehydration during physical activity. More often than not, most people are unsure of how much water to drink throughout a day, and sweat loss can cause drastic changes in performance if hydration is not taken seriously.
Studies have shown that euhydration (adequate hydration) requires the average human to drink ½ their body weight in fluid ounces (ex: a 180 lb adult male would require at least 90 fl oz per day to maintain euhydration). Now of course, one size does not fit all. Athletes and people with active lifestyles will require much more water intake to maintain.
Here are my helpful hints when it comes to water intake and hydration:
Drink 1 cup first thing in the morning, and 1 cup just before bedtime - Two easy ways to add at least 1 pint of water to your body
Come prepared to any event with plenty of water - Whether you buy a case of water bottles to leave in your car, have a filtered water pitcher in your refrigerator to fill up a water bottle, or just use tap water. Find a solution that works best for you!
Add salt to water - Yes, salt sounds unpleasant to add to water; however, adding a little salt to water can help replenish any sodium lost during perspiration, and can enhance thirst for more water.
Pay attention to urine color - According to a report done by the Gatorade Sports Science Institute, the urine color of an euhydrated individual is light yellow. Clear urine is a sign of overhydration, and dark yellow urine represents dehydration.
Gatorade and other sports drinks may taste great; however, they are best recommended during intense competition when profuse sweating occurs. Replacing key electrolytes such as sodium and potassium are essential in games. Due to high levels of artificial sweeteners and coloring, we suggest avoiding sports drinks unless it is completely necessary.
With more and more outdoor events and gatherings reopening this summer, it’s important to keep your water intake in check to prevent heat exhaustion and dehydration. Finding the right routine is always important, and when you’re body and mind tell you that you’re thirsty, you have to listen!