Staying hydrated in the summer heat

 

It’s not rocket science but it fuels your whole body – WATER!  Drinking 8-10 cups of water daily is key to keeping your kidneys, heart, joints, brain, digestion tract, and skin functioning at the optimum level.

Staying hydrated when exercising or during the hottest days of summer is crucial to good health. Our body weight is over 50% water. Water is lost faster from our bodies when the weather is really hot and during exercise, in other words when we sweat profusely.

We lose an average two to two and a half cups of water daily just going about our normal lives. Even when we breathe we lose water! Dehydration happens when we don’t drink enough water and we lose fluids faster than we can replace them in our cells.

Keeping the body hydrated helps the heart pump blood more easily through the blood vessels to the muscles and it helps the muscles work efficiently.

Pinch your skin to see how fast it bounces back. This “pinch test” indicates normal elasticity (hydrated skin snaps back to normal quickly) vs. decreased or compromised elasticity  (dehydrated skin remains elevated and returns to normal slowly). To keep skin looking young and to prevent sagging, hydration is important.

If you are engaged in activities outside, especially during these hot summer days, watch for signs of dehydration in yourself and others:

  • Fatigue
  • Dark Urine
  • Light-headedness
  • Increased Heart Rate
  • Muscle Cramps
  • Constipation
  • Loss of Skin Elasticity
  • Sweating profusely
  • Flushing
  • Nausea
If you notice any of these signs, get yourself, or the person in question, into shade if you are outside in the sun, or find a cool place to sit and rest to allow your body to return to normal. Sip cold water, and skip activities until your body has re-hydrated (this can take anywhere from a few minutes to several hours.) Prevention is the best solution to dehydration, so strive for a well hydrated body before beginning outdoor activities or exercise, and then keep hydrated by drinking a cup of water every 15 minutes.Save

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