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Drink Up! How to Stay Hydrated This Summer

By Sydney Bonds, B.S. Exercise Science

Summer is here and that means temperatures will be rising and the sun will be blazing. Although there are so many fun outdoor activities to enjoy during this nice weather, the summer heat can cause some individuals to fall victim to dehydration. Consuming enough water throughout the day is extremely important and vital in our bodies functioning properly.

Why is hydration important?
Believe it or not, water makes up anywhere from 50-70% of the adult human body, 73% of the brain and heart and 83% of the lungs. These are only a few of the many organs that are mainly made up of water in the body and depend on it to operate efficiently. We naturally lose water throughout the day and we lose even more when we sweat. Sweating or perspiration allows the body to control body temperature and is increased during exercise or in hot, humid environments. Due to the increased water loss that may occur during hot, summer months, it is especially important to keep yourself hydrated to avoid dehydration. Dehydration can result in lightheadedness or dizziness, fatigue, headaches, muscle weakness and possible fainting. Not only does consuming water help us avoid dehydration, but it also lubricates and cushions shock on your joints, flushes out waste, as well as transports oxygen and other nutrients throughout the body.

How much water should I be drinking?
The total amount of water that an individual should consume daily varies based on age, gender and physical activity level. According to the U.S. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine, males should consume 3.7 liters of fluids and women should consume 2.7 liters of fluids per day. However, being in a hot environment, exercising, being pregnant or breastfeeding as well as any other health conditions may cause a need for more than that. This may seem like a lot, however, this number includes all sources of fluids throughout the day which can come from the foods we eat in addition to beverages.

Tips for staying hydrated!
Consuming an adequate amount of water during the day may be easier than you think! A popular strategy for beginners trying to increase their water intake is the “8 glasses a day” rule. This goal is very reasonable and a great place to start. Setting a specific goal and tracking it throughout the day can be a great way to stay motivated. Aqualert, Hydrocoach and Daily Water Track Reminder are free apps that you can use to monitor your water intake. Another way to stay hydrated is to consume hydrating foods along with fluids. Water rich foods can make up about 20% of your daily intake. According to the USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, some foods that contain 80-99% water include spinach, watermelon, strawberries, celery, cooked squash, pickles or cucumbers, oranges and cooked broccoli. Adding these hydrating foods to your meals or snacks can be an easy way to beat the summer heat. Lastly, finding a reusable bottle that you like and will actually use can be a game changer. A stainless, steel bottle to keep your drink hot or cold or a bottle with a built-in straw are very popular.   

Sydney Bonds is a fitness intern at Community & Recreation Center at Boyce Mayview Park who is finishing her degree in exercise science. For more information, visit www.twpusc.org.

References
https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/water/art-20044256
https://www.usgs.gov/special-topic/water-science-school/science/water-you-water-and-human-body?qt-science_center_objects=0#qt-science_center_objects
Barry M Popkin, Kristen E D'Anci, Irwin H Rosenberg, Water, hydration, and health, Nutrition Reviews, Volume 68, Issue 8, 1 August 2010, Pages 439–458, https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1753-4887.2010.00304.x



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