Staying Hydrated: Tips and Tricks
Summer is here! What a perfect time to spend some time in the sun, enjoy the heat, and drink a TON of water! We all know water is a vital to our overall health so how come when the weather gets nice and our bodies require more water than usual, do we tend to drink less?
Like we mentioned above, water is an essential part to living, but we often don’t think about exactly how much we need to drink to stay hydrated and what the side effects are if we don’t. The recommended amount of water for an adult is around 1.5-2 liters a day. That sounds like a lot when you first think about it but if you break it down glass by glass throughout the day it is much more manageable, and our body will thank you for it. It is important to remember though, that with the higher temperatures and increased exercise that summer brings, your body needs more water than usual to stay fully hydrated.
Older adults and seniors do not feel thirsty as frequently as those younger than them. This is problematic because it makes it much easier to become dehydrated as an adult. Dehydration results in dangerous symptoms such as weakness, low blood pressure, dizziness, and confusion. The risk can be exacerbated by certain diuretic medications as well. Additionally, as the kidneys age they become less efficient at eliminating water in the body, meaning it is vital that you don’t drink your entire days’ worth of water at once. Eating water-rich foods such as watermelon, strawberries, and celery will also help keep you hydrated in between your glasses of water. The fact that they taste good and are good for you is an added bonus!
In most cases the best way to hydrate is by just drinking regular water. There is a bit of a misconception about sports drinks these days. Yes, most of them replenish electrolytes lost through sweat and exercise but they also contain large amounts of sugar and sodium. While they market themselves as healthy they don’t actually help too much with hydration. Sports drinks high in electrolytes are vital for professionals and serious athletes though those who participate in moderate exercise need them as well just not in as a high a quantity. Treating yourself to a sports drink every now and then is alright but consistently having one after a workout or a good sweat just undoes all of the progress you previously achieved with the overload on sugar and salt.
If you are struggling to drink enough water, here are a few tips:
- Carry a water bottle around with you. You are more likely to drink water if you have one handy.
- If you really like sports drinks, consider putting some fresh fruit in your water to mimic the flavor without the unhealthy levels of sodium and sugar. Cucumbers, strawberries, raspberries, melon, citrus, and mint can all spruce up your water to make it a healthy, sweet treat.
- Eating water rich foods helps keep your hydration levels up but should not replace actually drinking water. Soups and fruits are especially helpful though if you need some extra liquid..
- Count the tea you drink! But be careful, caffeine is diuretic so think about the caffeine content in the drink before counting it towards your daily water intake.
- Make a daily water goal and keep track of it, whether on a pad of paper, a marked water bottle, or an app on your phone. Giving yourself a daily helps keep the thought of staying hydrated in the forefront of your mind.
If you make it a priority to drink plenty of water throughout the day you will feel better, both physically and mentally, and will likely notice increased energy levels as well. So, next time yo leave the house don’t forget to grab a water bottle and stay hydrated!
**This article is as a guide only, if you are restricted from fluids as per doctor instructions please consult with them for advice on water consumption through the summer months.