Surviving The Summer Heat
There is no doubt we are in the dog days of summer here in southeast North Carolina. Heat advisories are a daily occurrence. The best defense is to stay indoors in the air conditioning. To add to that though, hydration is incredibly important. Sweating is your body’s natural temperature control mechanism. It is hard for your body to generate the proper cooling effect if you are dehydrated. To help survive these hot days, I recommend getting enough water each day. Keep reading to find out how much you need each day, tips for getting it in, and the many benefits that come with proper hydration.
There are numerous benefits to staying properly hydrated. Some may be obvious and some not so obvious. While this list is not all-inclusive, one thing is certain; the benefits of staying properly hydrated heavily outweigh the harmful effects of dehydration.
•The human body is composed of more than 60-70 percent water; the slightest drop in this level can impact all bodily function!
•Helps reduce the risks of heart disease.
•Helps to maintain healthy body weight by increasing metabolism and regulating appetite.
•Improves workout performance and recovery.
•Decreases the risk of certain types of cancers, including colon, bladder, and breast cancer.
•Helps flush out toxins and waste from your body.
•Help you feel energized throughout the day, including improved mental clarity, memory and attention.
•Helps deliver nutrients, vitamins, and minerals to your body, helping your body function healthily and properly.
•Helps relieve joint pain; if you are properly hydrated; your joints will thank you!
•Naturally moisturizes the skin, giving it a healthy glow.
How Much Do I Need
Clearly water is important, but how much do you need?
As it turns out, “8 x 8” is out. Drinking at least eight 8-ounce glasses of water has been a common recommendation given by health and fitness professionals over the years, but there is no scientific evidence to support this claim.
Some experts suggest that you can take your weight in pounds and divide that in half to get a good estimate of how many ounces of water you need each day. This is a good baseline estimate method and one that we use at Better Together Fitness. It’s easy to figure out and easy to remember. However, this is truly a baseline and you will need to adjust this based on physical activity levels, diet factors, and general climate factors.
To get a little more specific with the numbers, the Dietary Reference Intake as published by the Institute of Medicine is 13 cups of fluid (101.4 oz.) for sedentary men and 9 cups of fluid (74.4 oz.) for sedentary women each day. This amount is for actual fluid intake and does not include water provided in foods.
Whichever method you are using, remember that this is a baseline amount and more water is recommended for individuals who are physically active or exposed to a hot environment. It is also recommended to include an additional 8 oz. of water for every caffeinated/alcoholic beverage consumed. Both caffeine and alcohol are diuretics, which cause you to lose water faster.
You’ll know you are at a good hydration level based on the color of your urine. Think of the color of lemonade (pale yellow) as a goal indicator.
Tips to Reach Your Goal Amount
Remember it is important to use these tips to spread out your overall needed intake throughout the day. Don’t chug massive amounts at one time to meet your goal number. That will just increase your steps for the day with many more trips to the bathroom.
•Splurge on the perfect reusable water bottle
•One with a unique design, favorite color, or inspirational message on it
•Carry it with you at all times
•Refill it as soon as it’s empty
•Track Your Progress
•Use an app on your smartphone like FitBit, MyFitnessPal, etc.
•Update the app every time you finish your current bottle/glass
•Make it a Ritual
•Have a big glass (8-10 oz.) of water at every transitional point of the day:
•drink at least 8 oz. as soon as you get out of bed; place it on your nightstand and drink it after turning off the alarm clock
•just before leaving the house
•when you sit down at work
•when you get home from work
•Make it Part of Every Meal
•Every time you eat a meal or snack have at least 8-10 oz. of water with it
•Drink When You Have a Munchie Attack
•Are you REALLY hungry? Hunger can be mistaken for thirst. If it has only been an hour or so since your last meal and you are feeling hunger pains try drinking a glass of water…chances are you are just a little behind on your water intake
•Challenge a family member, co-worker or friend to a fun competition
•See who can hit their goal amount of water more days over a week
•Freshen it up with Some Fruit
•Try adding fresh lemon, lime, oranges or even cucumber to flavor your water
•Create a System
•Have one glass (6-10 oz.) every hour on the hour while at work
•Stop a couple of hours before bedtime, so it doesn’t impact sleep
•Make a Rule
•Find something you have a habit of doing regularly, and make a rule to drink one full glass (8-10 oz.) of water every time you do it
•Take Baby Steps
•If you are currently nowhere near reaching your goal amount of water each day, take it slow…add a few more ounces daily until you reach the goal amount specific to you.
•Your trips to the bathroom may increase at first, but once your body adapts to the steady supply of fluid, you will go less frequently.
These are just a few helpful tips. You don’t need to implement all of them to reach your goal. Pick what works for you. Try one or two. Keep the ones that work for you in your regimen…get rid of the ones that don’t. Stay focused on reaching the end goal and help your body stay cool and healthy.
If you have any questions or other thoughts to share, I would love to hear from you! Even though we are all separated right now, we are still Better Together.