5 important hydration tips to stay safe in the heat
Posted July 3
Updated July 4
Summer has just begun, and already places across the country have seen temperatures in the mid- to high-90s and low 100s.
Don’t let these hot temperatures hold you back from enjoying all your favorite outdoor summer activities. Here’s how you can safely enjoy your backyard or a fun trip in nature while avoiding heat stroke.
Why you need to worry about hydration
Staying properly hydrated keeps your heart healthy. It helps you get the most out of your exercise, deliver nutrients throughout your body and protects your organs. Proper hydration also allows your body to effectively cool off when it’s so hot outside.
How to measure your hydration
You can start with that 64 ounces a day, but everyone has different needs, and your hydration needs to change as you participate in an activity and are in hot or cold climates. Here are a few other methods to measure your hydration needs more accurately:
- Pay attention to urine color: if your urine is lemonade colored or paler, you’re well hydrated, if it’s dark you’re dehydrated.
- Weigh yourself before and after exercise or being outside for a long time. If you lose weight after exercising or being outside for a bit, you’ve lost water. Replace 16 oz (or 2 cups) for every pound you’ve lost.
5 Tips to Stay Hydrated
- Drink before you’re thirsty. Sometimes it’s hard to recognize thirst, don’t let this be your only measure of hydration status. Thirst is also not the first means of feedback to your hydration, so rehydrate before you feel thirsty. Hydrate before you feel too thirsty.
- Choose foods with high water content like cucumbers, strawberries, citrus, watermelon, celery, lettuce and tomatoes. Eat these foods plain as a snack or incorporate them into your meals.
- Drink sports drinks if you’re vigorously exercising for over 90 minutes, or if your sweat is really salty. You're losing electrolytes in these situations and need to replenish them.
- Choose flavored waters. Water can get boring, but don’t let this hold you back from staying properly hydrated. Infuse water with fruit for a flavored kick. Berries, citrus, herbs like mint and basil all are delicious additions to plain ‘ole water.
- Avoid caffeinated drinks as they act as a diuretic to make you lose more water.
- And a bonus tip: Hydrate before, during, and after your outside activities.
Here are a few signs/symptoms of dehydration from the Mayo Clinic.