Staying hydrated this summer
AS TEMPERATURES begin to climb, it is essential to stay hydrated! Proper hydration helps regulate body temperature, support brain function and mood, and keep our joints lubricated and our digestion smooth.
Though we have all heard the eight-glasses-a-day about 64 ounces recommendation, hydration needs vary from person to person and change depending on heat, humidity and activity levels.
As a general guideline, individuals can consume half ounce to one ounce of water per pound of body weight each day. People who are playing sports or working outdoors in hot weather should aim for a minimum of one ounce of fluid per pound of body weight.
Up to 60 per cent of our bodies are made of water. We lose water constantly through our skin, urine, waste and sweat, even when we breathe. Water intake has many benefits, including:
• Regulating internal body temperature
• Metabolising food and regulating hunger
• Lubricating joints
• Flushing bodily waste
• Producing adequate saliva
If you do not drink enough water, you can become dehydrated, which can lead to impaired kidney function, unbalanced electrolytes and other complications.
About 20 per cent of our daily fluid intake comes from the food we eat and the rest from the liquids we drink. Although rare, it is possible to drink too much water. An excess of water can be lethal, especially to those with heart disease or electrolyte abnormality. The best bet is to clear with your doctor what level of water intake is most appropriate for your body and activity level.
TIPS FOR STAYING HYDRATED:
• Drink a glass of water first thing in the morning: This gets your metabolism running and gives you an energy boost. Avoid drinking water right before bed if you struggle with nocturnal urination or heartburn.
• Invest in a fun or fancy water bottle: A good water bottle can serve as a visual reminder to drink more water throughout the day. Certain bottles have marked measurements for tracking intake or have words of encouragement printed on the side as water levels go down.
• Use alarms or notifications to your advantage: Set alarms or notifications on your smart devices as reminders throughout the day. For a mental boost, set your device to remind you along with verbal, positive encouragements.
• Focus on your body’s signals. Be mindful of whether your body is thirsty or hungry. Sometimes we overeat because we mistake thirst for hunger.
• Drink a glass of water before each meal. It will help you stay hydrated, help your body digest food better and help you feel full faster.
• Add calorie-free flavouring: Try fruit or vegetable infusions in your water to make it more appealing. Prepare a jug in the refrigerator to infuse overnight to make filling your water bottle in the morning easier. Pick up a water bottle that has a built-in infusion basket for flavour on the go.
• Check the colour of your urine: Some people check the colour of their urine throughout the day to ensure it is clear or light-coloured. Dark yellow urine may be a sign of dehydration for some.
• Swap high sugar drinks for sparkling water or seltzer. Not only will you cut back on unnecessary sugar, but you’ll be adding to your water intake.
• Set a daily goal: A simple daily goal can help you stay motivated and work towards maintaining a healthy habit.
• Make it a challenge: Ask your friends to join you in a healthy competition to see who meets their daily goals regularly.
Juices and popsicles can replenish fluids as well, but as these choices tend to be high in sugar, they are best consumed in moderation. You can also stay cool this summer by making your own hydrating popsicles at home: Grab popsicle moulds and sticks, blend up your favourite fruit with coconut water, freeze and enjoy. Watermelon, lime and raw honey with coconut water is another mixture.