The temperatures are rising quickly so we have decided today would be an appropriate day to reiterate the benefits and importance of staying hydrated. Keeping the body hydrated helps the heart more easily pump blood through the blood vessels to the muscles and helps the muscles work efficiently.
The amount of water a person needs depends on climatic conditions, clothing worn and exercise intensity and duration. The easiest way to track your hydration level is to pay attention to the color of your urine. Pale and clear urine means you’re well hydrated. On the contrary, dark urine means you need to drink more fluids. Speaking of drinking, thirst isn’t the best indicator of whether or not you need to drink. Multiple doctors have said, “If you get thirsty, you’re already dehydrated.”
Dehydration can be a serious condition that can lead to problems ranging from swollen feet or a headache to life-threatening illnesses such as heat stroke. Symptoms of dehydration include, but are not limited to: little or no urine; urine that is darker than usual; dry mouth; sleepiness or fatigue; extreme thirst; headache; confusion; dizziness or lightheaded feeling. It’s important that you don’t wait until you notice symptoms of dehydration to take action. You should actively prevent dehydration by drinking plenty of water.
Hydration isn’t just important during physical activity. You may need to increase the amount of water you are drinking if you have certain medical conditions, are pregnant, will be outside during hot weather, have a fever, have been vomiting or have diarrhea or if you are trying to lose weight.
Tips for staying hydrated:
- Keep a bottle of water (preferably a plastic, reusable bottle) with you during the day
- If you don’t like plain water, try to enhance its taste by adding a slice of lemon or lime
- Be sure to drink water before, during and after a workout
- Eat a balanced diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables
- When you feel hungry, drink water because thirst is often confused with hunger
- If you have trouble remembering to drink water, drink on a schedule
- Drink water when you go to a restaurant