During the summertime, everyone wants to get outdoors and have some fun. While that is certainly something we encourage, certain precautions must be taken as well. Heat exhaustion and heat stroke can be life-threatening if left untreated. One of the best and easiest ways to avoid such afflictions is to understand how to stay hydrated in hot weather and put that knowledge into practice.
While water certainly serves many different functions in the body, when it comes to staying hydrated during hot months, water and general hydration play a vital role.
Let’s take a look at how hydration keeps you cool in the summer and how you can go about ensuring you are well-hydrated during the hottest parts of the year.Try Our Delicious Electrolyte Powder Before Leaving the House
The Importance of Hydrating in the Heat
When the temperatures rise, your body pumps a greater volume of blood to your skin, thus causing you to sweat. The evaporation of sweat on the skin’s surface helps to keep you cool. Of course, this tends to work better when the temperature outside is cooler than your internal temperature of roughly 98° F.
This means sweating is an essential bodily process, as it helps keep a person from overheating, which can be damaging to a variety of organs, including your heart, as it will need to work harder to pump more blood to the skin to stimulate a greater sweat response.
Naturally, the best way to help your body to cool itself is to remain well-hydrated to offset the fluids being lost via sweating. This is where lots of fluids can make all the difference in the world in keeping you safe and comfortable.
Additionally, since electrolytes are lost through sweat and urine, you will want to ensure you are replacing these lost essential minerals. Therefore, you might want to consider picking up some electrolyte-infused hydration supplements to keep on hand during the warmer months.
At the same time, if you live in a high-humidity area, sweat won’t evaporate as quickly. This means that, in addition to drinking hydrating fluids, you will want to consider heading for an air conditioned indoors space or to some shade, at the very least.
Finally, be sure you are intimately familiar with the symptoms of heat stroke and dehydration, as being able to spot the signs early can help you avoid a more serious situation later.
For those who are not in the know, mild hydration can cause a person to feel tired, dizzy and even nauseous. When these symptoms arise, they are easy enough to deal with by simply drinking a glass of water.
However, when severe hydration sets in, symptoms like dark urine (or a complete lack of urine), dry skin, sunken eyes, rapid heartbeat, confusion and more begin to arise. If a combination of these symptoms are present, it is important to immediately seek medical attention, as consuming water orally could be dangerous.
Finally, even if it is a cloudy or breezy day, the heat alone can still cause you to lose water. Therefore, even if you don’t think you need to be diligent on some days because of the weather conditions, it is still vital to stay on your hydration game.
On that note, let’s take a look at some strategies for how to stay hydrated in hot weather.
How to Stay Hydrated in Hot Weather: 10 Thirst-Busting Tips
There are many different ways to ensure you are well-hydrated during the hotter months of the year. Some of the best tactics include:
1. Hydrate Before Heading Out the Door
When it comes to matters of your health and safety, it is always better to be proactive than reactive. Thus, it is critical to ensure you are well-hydrated before you head out into the heat.
Your hydration plan is a 24-hour scheme, which means it doesn’t end when you are in a climate-controlled room. After all, you’re going to need to go outside again soon enough.
Therefore, it is imperative you consume plenty of fluids throughout the day. However, you aren’t relegated to plain water alone. Since you are inside and have access to a full pantry, grab some sugar-free electrolyte powder to add essential nutrients and delicious flavor to your hydration efforts.
2. Drink Early, Often and Plenty
During the hot summer months when you are outside in the sun, likely having fun with friends, it can be easy to forget to hydrate. However, as discussed earlier, it is critical to stay on top of your hydration and to drink water quite often, even before you think doing so is necessary. According to Baylor College of Medicine, if you are thirsty, you are already dehydrated. Therefore, it is important to stay ahead of things and not allow thirst to become a factor.
As far as how much water you should drink in a day goes, it is advised that males drink 15.5 cups and women drink 11.5 cups. However, as discussed earlier, when it is hot out you will lose more fluid than normal, which means you will also need to up your consumption.
Again, the best way to do this is to drink water early, often and in considerable quantities.
3. Avoid Diuretics
For those who are unfamiliar, a diuretic is a drug that causes the kidneys to produce more urine to eliminate excess water. While diuretics aren’t a bad thing, they can end up dehydrating you as a result of electrolyte loss through urine. Combine that with the sweat produced on hot days, and you can quickly find yourself dehydrated.
Therefore, you will want to avoid common diuretic drinks such as alcohol. While caffeinated beverages such as coffee, tea and energy drinks are also diuretics, these should be fine to drink, even in the heat, as long as they are consumed in moderation.
4. Replenish Electrolytes Often
While water is certainly a critical element of hydration, you also need electrolytes to stay hydrated. This is good news for many, given there are lots of folks who find water boring or get tired of drinking the same thing for extended periods. If you are one of these people, or are simply looking for a good way to get some electrolytes into your system, it is wise to pick up a high-quality electrolyte powder.
While sports drinks can certainly have their place, they are typically loaded with sugar or artificial sweeteners and other sorts of unnatural additives. However, you can avoid all that by simply mixing a delicious sugar-free electrolyte powder into your water to get a boost of flavor, a variety of essential nutrients and a handful of other vitamins, without all of the stuff that you don’t want going into your body.
5. Take Your Activity Level into Account
Of course, while the summer heat will make you sweat and lose more fluids than normal, you need to take your activity level into consideration as well. Naturally, if you engage in an exercise or an activity that has you working up a sweat, you are going to need to consume additional water, above what you would be taking in on a hot day.
The exact amount of fluid you intake will depend on a variety of factors. While the 15.5 cups and 11.5 cups cited above work well as a baseline, you also need to account for:
- Intensity of activity
- Activity duration
- Sweat rate
These are just some of the factors that will influence the amount of water you need to drink to remain hydrated. The American Council on Exercise recommends the following guidelines be followed before, during and after exercise:
- Drink 17 to 20 ounces of water two hours before the start of exercise.
- Drink 7 to 10 ounces of fluid every 10 to 20 minutes during exercise.
- Drink 16 to 24 ounces of fluid for every pound of body weight lost after exercise.
Again, these are general guidelines, so your specific water consumption needs may differ based on the factors listed above.
6. Eat Hydrating Foods
If all this talk about consuming tons of water each day is beginning to seem a bit daunting, don’t worry, as there are other ways to receive hydration.Try Our Delicious Electrolyte Powder Before Leaving the House
While it is still important to drink plenty of water and electrolytes, you can also eat a panoply of water-rich foods to help supplement your hydration habits.
There are tons of delicious foods that have a high water content, such as cucumbers, grapes, oranges, watermelon, cantaloupe, strawberries, celery, zucchini and even broth-based soups.
However, it’s not only water that you can get through your diet, as there are foods that contain a healthy dose of electrolytes as well.
Some delicious electrolyte-rich foods you might decide to pick up during the summer include:
With all of these water-rich and electrolyte-dense foods to choose from, you should have no problem integrating some hydrating snacks and meals into your diet.
7. Take Note of Urination Patterns
While not the most exciting topic on the list, when we are talking about how to stay hydrated in hot weather, it is important to pay attention to both how often you urinate and your urine’s color.
When a person is well-hydrated, they should be going to the bathroom approximately every two to three hours. If you notice that you aren’t going this often, that is a good sign that you should up your water intake.
Similarly, when you do go to the bathroom, your urine should look similar to lemonade. If it begins to take on darker orange hues, that is a sign that your body is trying to conserve water and needs to be hydrated.
8. Carry Water with You
When it is hot outside, you need to constantly hydrate yourself. This means that carrying an insulated, reusable water bottle with you wherever you go is a great idea.
Additionally, many public places like gyms, parks and office buildings tend to have water fountains, which means that you will have plenty of opportunities to fill your bottle up for free.
9. Take a Probiotic
Our bodies are teeming with bacteria, both good and bad. In recent years, it has become increasingly apparent that the gut microbiome is critical for overall health.
Probiotics can help to contribute to the “good” bacteria that live in your gut, thus helping to promote a healthier immune system, ward off infections and even improve digestion and absorption efficiency. This means that probiotics can help you to remain better hydrated, no matter the season.
10. Cool Down
Staying well-hydrated isn’t just about how much water you drink, as regulating your body temperatures in other ways is critical as well.
This means that it is important to wear light, loose-fitting clothing during the summer. Additionally, you should reschedule your exercise routine for cooler parts of the day. Moreover, whenever you feel that you are getting too hot, go inside, take a break from the heat and grab a drink of water.
Staying Hydrated in the Heat
Understanding how to stay hydrated in hot weather isn’t rocket science, but it does require a bit of forethought and planning to ensure that your body is always well-stocked on fluids.
Utilize the tips outlined above, you should have no problem staying hydrated all summer long.