If you’ve been alive lately and have been outside, or in a car, or pretty much anywhere in the United States, you know that IT IS HOT. With temperatures reaching into the 90’s and heat indexes well over 100°F, not to mention the high humidity percentages, this summer has been boiling.
So this article should be a no-brainer – DRINK FLUIDS or dehydration will easily ensue. Momma always chided us, “Drink eight glasses of water a day!” Right? “But I don’t want/like drinking all that water!” Maybe it’s not as bad as you think.
First off, hydration is “the condition of having adequate fluid in the body tissues.” Your body is made up of about 70% water. Taking that into account – plus the fact that a large number of bodily functions (such as toxin removal, nutrient shuttling, and softening of certain tissues) rely heavily on water – it’s safe to say that you have to get your fluids in. The problem is, hot summer months like these cause keeping those fluids in your body seemingly impossible, not to mention how much sodium you’re losing in the sweating process.
Secondly, dehydration is not a condition that should be ignored. Even being mildly dehydrated can affect the body’s normal functions, causing tiredness and other physiological complications. Being out in the heat and sweating profusely with little replenishment of fluids can also lead to worse issues. Heat exhaustion is dizziness, nausea, headache, fatigue, and other symptoms caused by heat exposure and water or salt depletion in the body. Heat stroke occurs when heat exhaustion worsens into a medical emergency.
Though the commonly repeated line is “8×8” (eight 8oz glasses of water per day) some research shows that this rule may only be partially valid. WebMD states the one-half ounce to one ounce per pound of bodyweight of water per day will suffice. Those with sedentary lifestyles who live in cool environments would be closer to the half ounce end of the spectrum, with more active individuals living in hotter climates on the one-ounce end.
If you weigh 150lbs and are active in this summer’s heat, don’t fret about the 18 ¾ cups of water recommendation you just received. Much of our intake of fluids comes from food (about 20% of total water intake). Another portion derives from sugared, caffeinated, and alcoholic beverages, though ideally, this would be a minor portion of your total intake. It is recommended for those who are sweating frequently to include electrolyte beverages such as Gatorade or PowerAde to replenish losses of sodium and potassium.
So if you’re out and about in this heat, be smart. Keep fluids close by and cool off as often as possible. No one wants you melting away.