It’s hot. You’re starting to glisten or downright drip with sweat. As the heat increases, our moisture levels begin to decrease. It’s time to get hydrated and stay hydrated. Your health depends on it.
Our bodies are composed of about 70% water. Our brains are roughly 80% water. We’ve been told to drink at least eight 8 oz. servings of water a day, but is that really enough? Is it too much? The only way to truly determine if you have achieved the proper amount of hydration is by looking at the color of your urine. If it’s anything other than nearly clear, you need to drink more water. Of course supplements such as a daily dose of vitamins and minerals will change the color of urine, but this change is only temporary. Look for clear urine at least a couple times each day. The proof is in the pee. The latest rule of thumb states to consume half your body weight in ounces. Put simply, a person weighing 160 pounds should consume 80 ounces of water each day. That equals 10 8 oz. servings of water per day. Keep in mind excessive activity and perspiration causes this daily allowance to increase. So during the hot summer months you will likely need to drink even more water!
Coffee contains water, soda and tea contain water, but pure water is what your body needs. Anything containing caffeine or alcohol dehydrates the body. And since we are trying to achieve hydration, steer clear of any fluids that aren’t crystal clear. Liquids containing sugar, such as fruit juice, are just adding unnecessary calories to your diet. Although most of us consume beverages other than pure water, keep in mind you may need to increase your intake of pure water to compensate for the dehydrating effects of alcohol consumption.
Don’t wait until your feel thirsty to drink water. By the time thirst signals are triggered, your brain has already experienced dehydration. A 1-2% decrease in hydration can cause your brain to not function properly and may even be the result of short term memory loss. If you are experiencing “brain farts”, you may just need to drink more water. Water actually feed the neurons in our brains and keeps them functioning in a healthy manner. Water also helps keep the brain from overheating.
It’s easy to fall victim to dehydration in the desert heat. Try to overcome this by planning in advance. I carry a bottle of water with me wherever I go. Although it sometime feels cumbersome to keep a bottle in an already weighed down purse, leaving water in the car on a hot day won’t bring much relief when it reaches 110 degrees. Try packing a lightweight cooler with ice packs and water bottles to aide in the ease of hydration. It takes a little bit of effort, but the reward is well worth it. I love the more environmentally friendly Sigg and Kerplunk bottles that can be easily refilled and reused. Drink up!