It’s STILL Hot Outside-How to Stay Hydrated in the Summer Heat
This summer, it’s been hot. Dang hot. Hot and sticky. Or, hot and dry. Regardless of where you live, chances are good you’ve been hit with the finest heat Mother Nature has to dish out.
Does this mean you need to hide in the air conditioned indoors?
Nope. However, it does mean that you need to be aware of your fluid intake and stay hydrated, but not over hydrated. This will improve your athletic performance as well as keep you safe from heat related illnesses.
The American College of Sports Medicine has released a comprehensive guideline for hydrating for sport activities. To simplify: drink before, during, and after your activity. For physical activity in heat, a general guide of 24-32 ounces of fluid per hour (including sport drink with electrolytes) is recommended. Drinking several ounces often is more effective (and WAY easier on the stomach!) than trying to drink a large amount all at once.
There can be danger with overconsumption of plain water, believe it or not. This danger is called hyponatremia, where the electrolyte balance of blood is affected. It’s a condition where you’ve essentially diluted the salts in your blood to an unsafe level. If you are exercising for one hour or less, an electrolyte replacement is generally not needed. For exercise or outdoor activity greater than one hour, you will want to take in electrolyte replacement. This does not necessarily mean a calorie laden beverage, as there are quite a few options with minimal to no calories that provide electrolyte replacement.
If you’re not outright exercising, but just outdoors, there are some great and tasty ways to get fluid in your body. Try naturally flavored waters. Find a nice big pitcher and throw in some sliced cucumber, fresh mint, fresh raspberries, or any combination of fruit and herbs you happen to have on hand. Citrus infused water is always a hit. Also, many vegetables and fruits have high water content. (Yes, that counts!) Cantaloupe, cucumber, watermelon, celery, grapefruit, pineapple, and blueberries are all over 90% water. A fruit salad sprinkled with some purely elizabeth granola for crunch would be a delicious and hydrating snack.
Don’t let the summer heat keep you indoors! Get out and play, stay hydrated and stay safe.
Erin Elberson Lyon