Summer is right around the corner, and when it comes, there is no escaping the heat. Picture yourself walking the short distance through the carpark to get to your car. The air is humid, suffocating, stagnant, and artificially hotter from the heat emanating off the hot engines of the cars packed tightly side-by-side. You wish you could find temporary relief, a breeze … something. And then it comes, but the faintest breeze only makes sweat trickle from your forehead because the breeze feels more like heat from a hairdryer than a cool breeze from a fan.
Our bodies are made up of 65% water, so adequate hydration is critical, especially in this part of the world where extreme heat and humidity makes us lose large amounts of water. Dehydration can cause one to feel fatigued, in a bad mood, and sluggish. More importantly, dehydration can negatively impact our bodily functions, causing muscle cramps, an inability for our bodies to regulate our core body temperature, difficulty getting rid of waste products, and impacting oxygen delivery throughout the body. On an average day, our bodies lose 2-2.5 liters of water through our regular bodily functions. Combine working out and hot and humid weather and you can easily lose an additional 0.5+ liters of water through sweat.
There isn’t an exact science to how much water your body needs to stay adequately hydrated. But, provided you are prepared and understand the causes of dehydration, prevention is quite simple. The most important thing is to listen to your body – it will tell you how much water you need to drink.
If you have difficulty hydrating, below are some tips on how to stay adequately hydrated:
- Carry a large bottle of water with you. A larger bottle will trigger greater water consumption rather than making you feel the need to ration your beverage.
- Use a diluted sports beverage to maintain some lost electrolytes.
- Drop slices of fresh fruits, vegetables, and herbs such as mint into your water to add flavor without the added calories.
- Avoid beverages, such as coffee, tea, and energy drinks which can dehydrate you
You can also check your weight loss at the beginning and end of the day. If your weight fluctuates more than 1 kg at any two points during the day it could indicate dehydration.
Best of luck in beating the heat and keeping well hydrated this summer!