Now that summer is in full swing, the dry heat in Colorado can be overbearing at times. We are always reminded about the risks of dehydration and heat stroke when doing outside activities. One of the best ways to keep hydrated during the hot summer months is to drink plenty of water. However, many people are still unclear as to how much water to drink. The following points will help you determine what’s best for you:
- While there is much conflicting information on the Internet, magazines and other media outlets, the general guideline still stands that for most people. It is recommended that we drink eight 8-ounce glasses, which equals about 2 liters, or half a gallon. This is commonly referred to as the 8×8 rule and is very easy to remember.
- Most healthy adults produce about 6 to 8 cups of urine a day (1.5 liters) and about a liter of fluid is lost from the body from breathing, sweating and defecation. Additionally, most people get about 10-15 percent of water from their food but in hot weather, we need to drink more water. In Colorado we likely drink less water compared to people in more humid states due to water being lost from sweating.
- If you enjoy performing intense exercise outdoors in the summer, you likely lose more sodium and potassium than most other people. Hence, the best way to replace these minerals is by the intake of fluids that contain sodium and potassium like vegetable juices or sports drinks in addition to drinking plenty of water before, during and after your workout. Keep in mind the mineral replacement drinks also come along with extra calories and sugar so balance the rest of your daily food and drink intake accordingly.
- A common cause of dehydration in the workplace is air conditioning, which results in a lower water content in office environments leading to increased water lost from the lungs and through skin cells. If you are low on water intake at work, it could lead to symptoms such as increased fatigue, loss of concentration and frequent headaches. Drinking more water in air conditioned environments is a good idea.
- Drinking plain water can get monotonous, so to add hydration through food, focus on eating fruits and veggies that contain high water content like grapes, melons, pineapples, oranges, cucumber, peaches, grapefruit, cherries, apricot, plums, celery and iceberg lettuce. In addition, you can also drink other beverages and it will count toward your fluid intake, but keep in mind that other beverages will contain things we don’t need like extra calories and/or sugar.
One final thing to note is that the best way to tell if you are hydrated without going to the doctor is to check your urine; if it is yellow and clear, you are doing okay, but if it is dark yellow, you need to drink more water.
Thanks for reading!
Editor’s note: Kim Farmer of Mile High Fitness & Wellness offers in-home personal training and corporate wellness solutions. For more information, visit www.milehighfitness.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org