We’ve all heard about drinking lots of water to stay hydrated, especially during these summer months, and there’s a good reason for that—dehydration and its much more severe counterpart, heatstroke, can both be brought on by not drinking enough water while exposed to hot temperatures. Still, while drinking more water is always a good idea, it’s rather vague advice. Below are a few tips on figuring out when you need to stay better hydrated, how much water you should be drinking and some other ways you can keep yourself hydrated.
- Eat more fruits and vegetables. A great way to “sneak” more water into your diet is simply by eating lots of fruits and vegetables. Watermelon, grapes, oranges, berries, tomatoes, lettuce, cucumbers, celery, carrots, peppers and many other fruits and veggies have a high water content.
- Don’t wait until you’re thirsty. Especially during the summer, it’s important to drink beverages and eat foods that will keep you hydrated throughout the day, and not just when you start to feel thirst. According to the American Heart Association, feeling thirsty is an indicator that you’re already dehydrated.
- Weigh yourself before and after exercise. Replenishing any water you lose when you sweat is very important to stay hydrated. If you weigh yourself before you exercise and then again afterward, you’ll know how much water you need to drink to keep yourself hydrated. For example, if you lose one pound, you know you need to drink sixteen ounces (or two cups) of water to replace the water you lost while exercising.
- Drink water before bed if you have a morning workout planned. Nobody wants to wake up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom, but make sure you drink at least some water (one cup should do it) before bed if you’re planning to work out when you wake up. Your body can get dehydrated while you’re sleeping since you’re going seven or eight hours with no water intake. Exercising will only exacerbate the problem, so be sure to drink water before bed and before your morning workout.
- Pay attention to your urine. If your urine is clear or pale, you’re doing just fine. If it’s dark, you need more water!
- Moderate your caffeine and alcohol intake. While we’d never tell you to stop enjoying your favorite beverages, you should be aware that caffeine and alcohol are diuretics which make you more dehydrated. To avoid dehydration and heatstroke, be sure you’re not overdoing it with coffee, soda, beer and wine. You should be drinking a cup of water to compensate for every cup of a beverage you drink that contains a significant amount of alcohol or caffeine.
Dehydration is no fun, but it’s a pretty easy fix. Heatstroke, on the other hand, is very serious, and anyone suffering from it needs immediate medical attention. Signs of heatstroke include a body temperature above 104 degrees, nausea or vomiting, headache, flushed skin, increased pulse and confused or unusual behavior. If you see someone who appears to be exhibiting these symptoms, call 911 right away. While waiting for help to arrive, try to cool the person down by spraying water on them, removing any excess clothing and getting them indoors or into the shade.
Your friends at LG Insurance hope you’re enjoying the beautiful summer we’ve been having, and that you’re staying well hydrated and safe!