Summer is finally here, maybe, in the Pacific Northwest. We slog through months of rainy weather to get rewarded with the best summer months anywhere in the world. Just because the rain is done, maybe, doesn’t mean you need to stop thinking about water. As the temperature goes up, so does the danger of dehydration. Dehydration is common for athletes, but can happen to anyone spending time walking or hanging out in the sun. Here’s some tips to stay properly hydrated over the summer.
- Don’t wait until you are thirsty: To make sure you are properly hydrated before running drink water all throughout the day. One common formula is having a goal of drinking the number of ounces of water that is half your body weight. For example, if you weigh 150 pounds, you would drink 75 ounces of water per day. The Mayo Clinic recommends 13 cups (104 ounces) a day for the average man, and 9 cups (72 ounces) for women. For runners, know how much your sweat by weighing yourself before and after you run to get an idea of how much water you sweat on a run.
- Go easy on the coffee and alcohol: Both coffee and alcohol are diuretic (they make you urinate) and can lead you down the road of dehydration. If you drink a beer or wine with dinner, follow with lots of water or electrolyte drink. Don’t let the beer or wine be the last thing you drink for eight to ten hours between dinner, sleep and breakfast.
- Eat your way to hydration: Fruits, like watermelon, can consist of up to 90% or more of their volume made of water. The make tasty, healthy snacks and will help with hydration.
- Don’t just drink pure water: In extreme situations, too much water that isn’t balanced with electrolytes can cause trouble. Make some the water you drink better by adding electrolyte fizz tablets or powders. Electrolytes consist of sodium (Na+), potassium (K+), calcium (Ca 2+), magnesium, (Mg 2+), chloride (Cl-), phosphate (PO4 2-), bicarbonate (HCO3-), and sulfate (SO4 2-) Read labels carefully! A lot of the convenience and grocery store sports drinks are loaded with sugar and other not so healthy ingredients.
- Have a plan to carry your water: Try all sorts of water bottles and water carriers that will suite your lifestyle. For runners and walkers, experiment with carrying different types of equipment such as water bottle belts and hydration backpacks. When you find something you like, buy multiple sets so you are never missing your favorite water carrier.