By: Molly Radonich, LAT, ATC
It is HOT outside and when the temperature increases, so does our need for water. Our bodies need about half of our body weight in oz on a normal day, so a 140lb person needs approximately 70oz of water. If you work or play outside, you should be drinking 8oz every 15 minutes! That seems like a lot but it will help keep your body working at its best. Water is important for many bodily functions such as;
- Regulating body temperature
- Carrying nutrients to cells
- Eliminating waste
- Lubricating joints
- Maintaining blood pressure
The body functions efficiently between 97 and 98 degrees. If it’s around or hotter than that, your body has to work harder to maintain it’s preferred temperature and still perform vital functions. To be able to hold up to these increased demands, the body needs more water to continue functioning well. An insufficiency of water can lead to dehydration and when it’s hot your risk of dehydration is even higher. Preventing and recognizing dehydration is so important. Here are some signs of dehydration to be aware of:
- Apple juice colored urine (should be lemonade colored)
- Dry mouth
- Swelling in fingers and toes
- Muscle cramps
If you are feeling any of these symptoms, get inside or to a cool location and begin hydrating. Do not drink more than 48oz of water in one hour, this can lead to hyponatremia or drowning of the cells. If there is too much water in your cells there are not enough electrolytes and minerals to perform cellular functions.
The good news is that you don’t just have to drink water all day long. While your main hydration source should be H20, there are many other ways to help keep your body hydrated.
- Coconut water has electrolytes that your body needs to replace when it sweats without all the sugars of commercial sports drinks.
- Fruits like cantaloupe, berries, watermelon and peaches have a higher water content and taste delicious!
- Sports drinks do have lots of electrolytes and can be beneficial after a workout or outdoor activity to replenish electrolytes and sugars.
If you have a hard time getting enough water, try setting a glass in the fridge for you to drink first thing in the morning and then set alarms or reminders throughout the day every half an hour to drink water. Sometimes finding a fun bottle or one with a straw helps to get more fluid in. Keep it near you as well because if you have to search for it or it’s out of sight, you probably won’t remember to drink.
Staying hydrated will allow you to continue doing the things you love this summer so don’t forget to drink your H2O!