Drinking water to beat the heat

GLENN ELLIS | 6/12/2017, 10:35 a.m.
As the weather gets warmer, drinking enough water is more important than ever.
Stock photo

Strategies for Well-Being

As the weather gets warmer, drinking enough water is more important than ever.

Now that we are entering summer and attending events in hot weather, there are some points that everyone should be aware of when out in hot, humid weather.

Most of us are accustomed to being in the comfort of air conditioning almost all of the time. When we attend a hot outdoor event, being unaccustomed to the sun, heat and increased humidity, some people have problems dealing with the extreme variation of circumstances. Even those who are used to being out in the heat need to be careful when it is extremely hot.

The human body contains a high proportion of water, so when the temperature rises and the body tries to cool itself by sweating, dehydration can occur, particularly in children. Dehydration is the loss of water and salts from the body. We need water to maintain our blood volume and to ensure our other body fluids function properly, as well as to maintain our blood pressure. Along with water, the body also needs electrolytes, which are salts normally found in blood, other fluids and cells.

Water is an important nutrient that composes approximately 50 to 60 percent of our body weight. For years, we’ve been told to drink eight glasses of water a day for optimal health. But that one-size-fits-all prescription no longer fits a training athlete. Fluid intake is an important part of training and athletic performance. The benefits of adequate fluid and electrolyte intake during exercise include lower heart rate, improved blood flow to working muscles and skin, body temperature control, support for muscular contraction, preventing hyponatremia (low blood sodium levels), quick recovery, improved performance and lower perceived exertion.

A good rule of thumb: Sip half your body weight in ounces of water every day. A 150-pound person, for example, should then down 75 ounces, or just more than 9 cups of liquid daily.

For athletes, hydration is essential, especially during the hot, humid days of summer. Kids need water, too, particularly when they’re outside playing in the sun all day

Drinking water throughout the day in general is important. It’s just as important for someone who is working at a computer all day to drink water as it is for somebody who is running a marathon.

But it’s not just water that hydrates you. Juices, coffee, tea and sports drinks count, too. Coffee is no longer thought to be a dehydrating beverage.

Twenty percent of your water intake comes from the food you eat. High-water foods have another benefit: They can help you slim your waistline. Cantaloupe, watermelon, berries, tomatoes, leafy greens – all of these things are nutrition powerhouses. These foods are also low in calories. They fill you up so you’re very satisfied, they add hydration and they also help you control your weight!

Watermelon is the juiciest of fruits. Sucking on a wedge of watermelon is even more refreshing than a cold can of soda, and with a 92 percent water content, it’s a tasty way to rehydrate.