Why being Hydrated during the summer months is so important
Water! Earth is covered in it and every living thing on the planet needs it to survive. Water accounts for approximately 60 percent of our body weight. It’s essential for supplying nutrients throughout our bodies, removing waste, maintaining our blood circulation and regulating our body temperature.
Hydrating your body is important to do every day, however it is especially important to be vigilant in rehydrating your body in the summer months. The heat can increase your body temperature and sweat production, which causes you to lose water at a faster rate. Some symptoms that might start to appear are muscle cramps, fatigue, thirst, and even our thinking and cognition can suffer. In moderate to severe cases you might lose your appetite, experience constipation, lightheadedness or fainting spells, or even kidney stones. Dehydration can be a very serious and life threatening condition if left too long in the summer heat and can be avoided by keeping up your water intake.
How much water do I need per day?
Every person will have a slightly different water requirement as it can depend on your age, sex, your medical conditions, the medications you take and a few other factors. As a general rule women should have about two litres (eight cups) of fluids a day, and men about 2.6 litres (10 cups). However, women who are pregnant or breastfeeding need more fluid each day than other women to make up for the extra fluid lost. Children’s water intake depends on their age and sex but is roughly estimated between 1 L for toddlers to up to 1.9 L for teenagers, for more information on childrens water intake please follow the link to the Better Health channel government website https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/healthyliving/water-a-vital-nutrient.
Top tips to stay hydrated!
- Keep track of your water intake
It can be easy to forget if you had a glass of water with lunch or if you have already filled up your water bottle for the day, so try a water alarm on your phone or smart watch. It can keep you accountable for getting through a cup of water every 2-3 hours or remind you to refill your water bottle at lunch time.
- The signs of dehydration
Does your skin feel dry and itchy? Do you have a headache or feel a bit lightheaded? Muscle cramps, rapid breathing, fainting, and not urinating (or having very dark yellow urine). These are all signs of dehydration and a cue for you to drink some water, get out of the heat, cool down and possibly replenish your electrolytes. Hydralyte or a sports electrolyte drink are a good over the counter option to get rehydrated. If symptoms are severe it is important to seek medical help by calling 000 or nurse on call on 1300 60 60 24.
- Avoid sugary drinks, alcohol and caffeine
Drinks like coffee, soft drinks, beer, wine and liquor, tea, energy drinks, smoothies, and flavored milk can actually be counterproductive when trying to hydrate. They are loaded with sugar, salt, and other ingredients that absorb water from your body, with you ending up needing more water to compensate for the loss. Try to keep those drinks to a minimum or drink a glass of water after to keep up your hydration.
- Keeping your body cool
Keeping your body temperature regulated will help in decreasing the chance of dehydration. During summer, it’s best to make sure you avoid heat stroke when going outside in our Aussie sun, so wear light, loose-fitting clothing in light colors; schedule sports and physical activities during cooler times of the day; protect yourself from the sun with hats; take drink breaks often; and mist yourself with a spray bottle if you become overheated.
- Eat foods with high water content
Did you know that approximately 20 percent of your water intake actually comes from the foods you consume. All fruits and vegetables contain some water, but the following are great to snack on in the summer months; cucumbers, celery, tomatoes, capsicum, watermelon, strawberries, and grapefruit. They all contain 90 percent water or higher, so they are a great way to get some extra water while having a yummy snack.
Stay safe, cool, and hydrated this summer!
Get in touch with us at Berwick Family Osteopathy on 9702 0094 to find out how we can help.
Blog written by Dr Amelia Sloan – Registered Osteopath.
Berwick Family Osteopathy & Spinal Clinic