Ben Wentworth, Dietetic Intern
Summer is here and with that comes longer days and hotter temperatures. Most of us like to enjoy the summer months outside playing a sport, going on hikes, or just hanging out at a family picnic. Because of the increased heat and our activity level, we must consider hydration throughout the day. Hydrating throughout the day helps keep us cool and our bodies working properly. Every cell in our body requires water to function, so it’s extremely important to keep hydration in mind.
Most people associate hydration with drinking water. Water is the best choice for hydration since it doesn’t have any calories or added sugar. To add more flavor to your water, try adding slices of fruit such as lemon or oranges to a pitcher. This will add a nice sweet taste with next to no calories. It is important to drink water both before and after your activity, otherwise you’ll be playing catch-up throughout the day in terms of your hydration.
The foods we eat throughout the day can also provide us with a source of hydration. Fruits and vegetables such as watermelon, grapefruit, celery, and spinach all provide a high water content when eaten. Other beverages such as milk, juice, and teas can also provide hydration throughout the day since these items contain water as well. Caffeine acts as a diuretic, so beverages like coffee or soda can actually take away from your daily hydration. It is best to drink these items in moderation.
Here are some tips to keep your hydration in check throughout the day:
- Bring a clear reusable water bottle with you to work or at the gym. This will allow you to see how much you have drank throughout the day as well as save you money when you need to fill up!
- Drink before, during, and after your activity. This will ensure that your body is getting the hydration that it needs.
- Check the color of your urine. If it is a darker color like apple juice than you might not be hydrated enough. A lighter lemonade color is an indicator of proper hydration.
- Weight yourself after working out. A pound of sweat lost can equal 16 oz. of water lost. Make sure to replace any fluids that are lost during exercise.
To learn more about the importance of hydration, visit the American Heart Association.