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The Importance of Staying Hydrated

Taking a walk on the beach, lounging by the pool, or sightseeing on a trip may sound like the perfect ways to spend the days of summer. But it’s easy to forget that any outdoor activity during this season can lead to an increase in sweat. Our extra perspiration is not just a factor of heat, but a sign that our bodies are losing fluids and that we need extra hydration. In fact, our bodies lose water when we go to the bathroom, sweat, and even when we breathe. We know that drinking water every day is essential for our bodies, and since we lose more water when the weather is really hot, it’s even more important to stay hydrated during the summer.

Importance of Staying Hydrated

Signs of Dehydration
If you don’t replace the fluids your body loses through urinating, sweating or breathing, you can easily become dehydrated, especially during the summer. There are several symptoms of dehydration, but they can be difficult to recognize, especially as you age. If you find yourself suffering from one or several of the following symptoms, act quickly to rehydrate your body:

  • Little or no urine, or urine that is darker than usual
  • Dry mouth
  • Sleepiness or fatigue
  • Extreme thirst
  • Headache
  • Confusion
  • Feeling dizzy or lightheaded
  • No tears when crying

How Much Water Do We Need
It’s important for us to stay hydrated because our bodies are comprised mainly of water. Although the daily amount of recommended water to drink varies from person to person, six to eight 8-ounce servings are what is widely recommended. If you exercise a lot or have certain medical conditions, you may need drink more than that. Proper hydration keeps our bodies functioning and flushes out toxins. Water is the key to detox and one way to tell if your body is getting enough water is to check your urine. If it is colorless or yellow, you are staying well hydrated.

Ways to Stay Hydrated
Although water is the best drink to stay hydrated, there are other fluids that help provide your body with the water it needs. Fruit and vegetable juices, milk, and herbal teas all contribute to the amount of water you should be getting every day. Caffeinated drinks can, up to a certain point, count towards your daily water intake, but should be limited because they make you urinate more frequently, causing your body to lose too much fluid. To make sure that you achieve your recommend fluid intake, be sure to keep a water bottle with you at all times. If you have trouble remembering to drink water, make it a part of your daily schedule, like drinking a glass before every meal.
Hydrating Foods
Eating fruits and vegetables is another way to help your body stay hydrated. For example, watermelon, cantaloupe, oranges, celery, tomatoes, and romaine lettuce provide your body with extra water. Soup broths are also an excellent way to increase your fluid intake, although it may not be as attractive during the hot days of summer. Try compromising with a cold soup, like a gazpacho.

Water is essential for good health, so whether it’s summer or not, it’s always important to stay well-hydrated. And because the signs of dehydration are difficult to identify, don’t take any chances. If you’re out in the heat, reach for a glass of water—your body will thank you.