Hydration is always important, no matter what time of year. However, as more people are spending time outside and exercising outdoors, we perspire more and lose more fluids. It is imperative to drink fluids to make sure your body systems are functioning properly. Our body is roughly 55-60 percent water, and water is found inside and in between our cells to maintain blood volume, to regulate body temperature, to allow for proper circulation, and to act as a shock absorber for the joints and brain.
We lose water through sweat, urine, breath and stool, and replenish it by drinking fluids. Dehydration occurs when we do not ingest enough fluid, when we excrete too much fluid, or a combination of both. It also may occur due to diarrhea, vomiting, sweating, diabetes, burns, and frequent urination.
Early symptoms of dehydration include thirst and decreased and darker urine production. However, some people do not feel thirsty when they are dehydrated, especially as we get older, so adequate fluids should always be consumed. As dehydration progresses, people experience dry mouth dizziness, lethargy, headaches, and weakness. If symptoms become severe, people can suffer delirium, unconsciousness, low blood pressure, sunken eyes, and lack of sweating.
To avoid dehydration, be cautious doing activities during the hottest part of the day or in extreme heat. Also, when exercising, replenish fluids regularly. Drink before, during, and after you exercise to improve performance to improve endurance and to reduce the risk of dehydration.
A good formula to determine adequate hydration is to drink half your body weight in ounces of water per day. It is important to make sure your electrolytes stay in balance as well. Eating plenty of fruits and vegetables will help increase your hydration status while simultaneously maintaining the electrolyte balance because they contain a high water content plus vital electrolytes such as magnesium, calcium, potassium, and sodium.
Water is vital to life, so make sure you drink enough fluids to keep yourself healthy. If you stay hydrated, get plenty of sleep, find methods to destress and exercise regularly this summer, you will be in good shape!