Slowly but surely we’ve seen higher temperatures settle in around the Steel City. With these elevated temperatures, unfortunately, comes an increased risk of getting dehydrated. While we all know that exercise and activity can leave us dehydrated, it turns out that simply sitting in the sun can also have the same effect in the right conditions. Considering this, and the fact that hydration is critical for good health, we want to emphasize the importance of staying hydrated this summer.
Hydration And Your Health
Our bodies depend on fluids – specifically, water – for good health and for survival. All of our cells, tissues and even organ systems need water to function correctly. Water is involved in every bodily function, from temperature control, to digestion, to joint lubrication, to good circulation, to waste removal. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the role water plays in our health.
Considering just how much water does for us, it makes sense that we would need plenty of such a vital substance to – especially since water makes up more than half of our body weight! Unfortunately, it’s very easy to become hydrated, in part because we lose so much water every day. In addition to losing fluids when we use the restrooms, we also lose them when we sweat and when we breathe; this is why we become dehydrated more quickly when we’re physically active and when we’re in hotter climates. When we’re sick and suffering from vomiting and diarrhea, we’re also more likely to become dehydrated.
All of this adds up to many opportunities for us to become dehydrated. Fortunately, we can easily avoid this health hazard by actively replacing the water that we lose each day.
How To Stay Hydrated
The #1 way to stay hydrated from day to day is to drink plenty of water. You’ve probably heard that you should drink about 8 glasses of water a day. However, some people may actually find that they need even more water than this. Our advice is to always drink plenty of fluids any time you feel thirsty. You should also drink water any time you feel hungry, as our bodies can sometimes misfire and tell us they’re hungry when they really need more fluids.
Water is especially important if you are exercising or moving, especially if it’s warm out. We recommend sticking to regular water instead of sports drinks during your activities, unless you plan on exercising at a very high intensity for longer than an hour. If you drink a sports beverage, choose one wisely, as many contain more calories, sugar and even sodium than necessary.
If you struggle to drink plenty of water each day, there are other ways you can stay hydrated. Some people find that adding flavor packets or lemon to their water makes it easier for them to drink it. Other healthy sources of water include fruits, vegetables and even soup broths. On the other hand, while drinks such as soda or pop products, milk or fruit juices will help keep you hydrated, you should not rely on them to stay hydrated due to their sugar content. Caffeinated beverages, such as coffee, should also not be your main source of hydration; while an occasional caffeinated beverage can contribute to your fluid intake, high levels of caffeine act as a diuretic and will cause you to lose more fluids.
Stay Hydrated – And Stay On Alert – This Summer
Proper hydration plays a big role in helping our bodies to stay healthy and function. With summer temperatures settling in, now is the time to make sure you’re taking steps to stay hydrated and healthy. If you do not do so already, it’s recommended that you begin carrying a bottle of water with you throughout the day that you can reuse and refill. This will save money and cut down on plastic bottle waste. You should also make sure that you drink water before, during and after your workouts. And finally, drink water whenever you eat out – it’s free and it’s an easy way to ensure you’re drinking another glass of water.
We also advise that everyone take the time to learn about the signs of dehydration this summer. Even if you yourself avoid becoming dehydrated, knowing these symptoms could allow you to help a friend or family member if they require assistance this season.
Still have questions or concerns regarding hydration and your health? Feel free to get in touch with your doctor - our staff are always happy to check in and make sure you’re on the right path to a healthy life overall!