Summer means swimming, sports and other outdoor activities. It also means extreme heat and humidity. When you mix physical activity with the summer sun, it can be easy to become dehydrated.
There are several things to keep in mind before sending your kids off to summer camp, the beach and sports conditioning camps, or engaging in summer activities yourself.
Always have water handy
Many believe that eight glasses of water a day is standard for healthy hydration. However, you want to consider drinking at least 12 to 15 glasses a day during the summer months, especially if you are very active and frequently outdoors.
For those engaging in physical activity in the summer heat, such as runners and athletes, make sure to always have a water bottle with you and access to a water source for refills.
Listen to your body
Your body will send warning signals when it’s dehydrated, including extreme fatigue, haziness and dark urine. If you are experiencing these symptoms, grab a glass of cold water as soon as possible. Drinking water will immediately help you feel better and more alert.
In some situations, like when swimming or at the beach, it may be harder to detect dehydration since you’re submerged in water. However, being in water does not hydrate your body. You still need to drink water to avoid dehydration.
Avoid sugary drinks and caffeine
If you are feeling dehydrated, reaching for a soda will not help the problem. The caffeine and sugar in some drinks cannot replace the fluids you lose when you sweat like water can, and they can actually dehydrate you even more. The same is true for alcohol.
It’s also important to have a diet that includes water-rich foods such as vegetables and fruits.
Staying hydrated is important as the summer months approach, and you should never put your health at risk by not consuming enough fluids. Make note of how much water you drink every day and talk to your kids about their activity and consumption habits as well.
Source: UCF College of Medicine