Stay Healthy and Hydrated This Summer

Ah, summer. It’s the time of year when we enjoy the outdoors and take advantage of the wonderful warmer months. It is also the time of year when increased outdoor activity means that we need to up our hydration game. We’ve all heard that we should hydrate well, particularly during times of activity. Staying hydrated for optimal health is easier than you think. Read on to learn more about hydration and your health.

Hydration and Your Health: The Facts

Water makes up about 60% of the adult human body. However, did you know that this percentage changes throughout our lives? In utero, our bodies are made up of 94% water; infants are 75% water. As we age, our body’s water composition changes: the average elderly individual’s water composition can drop to 50%. As we take a closer look into water composition, individual organs vary too. The organ in the body that’s made up of the most water is the lungs (83% water), followed by the muscles and kidneys (79% water), the brain and the heart (73% water) the skin (64% water) — even the bones (31% water)! Staying hydrated is vital for your organs to function properly. Hydration regulates your body’s temperature, acts as a shock absorber for the brain and spinal cord, helps with digestion, forms saliva and lubricates joints.

How Much Water Should I Drink?

We’ve all been told that we should drink about eight glasses of water per day; however, this is a myth. The truth is that our water needs change and depend upon a lot of factors. These factors include our activity levels, how much we sweat, the climate we live in as well as our overall health. Individuals with certain medical conditions, such as diabetes or heart disease, need more water. Eight glasses of water or liquids per day a great starting point. Take into account your personal activity levels (and the other factors described above) when determining how much water to drink per day.

How Can I Tell If I’m Getting Enough Water?

You can always tell if you’re getting enough water by the color of your urine. Of course, if you’re rarely running to the bathroom to urinate (less than four times a day is a warning sign), you’re definitely not getting enough water. That said, the color of well-hydrated urine is light yellow. In addition to urine, your hydration level can directly affect how you feel. If you are mildly dehydrated, you’ll likely have a headache, have dry skin or bad breath, you’ll feel tired or you will be unlikely to focus. Sudden and unusual cravings for sugar can also mean that you’re dehydrated. This is because dehydration interferes with many of the body’s function, including its ability to gain access to those stores of glucose. More severe signs that you’re not getting enough water is feeling dizzy or lightheaded. You may feel increasingly thirsty; if you’re thirsty that actually means that you’re already a bit dehydrated.

What are Some Easy Ways I Can Up My Water Intake?

Luckily, it’s fairly easy to stay hydrated. Although good, plain water is the best, the good news is that many other things count as a liquid, including herbal tea, coffee, milk, soup, juice, smoothies — even fruit! Love watermelon? Cut up some watermelon and take advantage of this great source of water; make your melons fun to eat with our stainless-steel cookie scoops for some decorative and easy-to-create melon balls. All of these items can count toward your daily water intake. If you prefer, filtered water, check out our clear water filtration pitcher. Keep it in the fridge for cold, filtered water to sip on throughout the day in your colorful 16-ounce insulated tumblers. Drink your coffee or tea out of a special personalized mug. Miles Kimball offers our personalized tea bag mug or our popular personalized coffee mug. Have a favorite NFL team? Check out our NFL coffee mug from Miles Kimball. Freshly squeezed juice is easy to enjoy and helps with hydration. Our 16-ounce citrus juicer by Home Marketplace is a great way to enjoy fresh orange juice. Keep your drinks cold with ice cubes, made with our aluminum ice cube trays.

Do I Need Sports Drinks?

With their fun flavors, sports drinks are often a favorite among people — both young and old. These flavored drinks are made mostly with water. They are also enhanced with electrolytes (sodium and potassium), as well as carbohydrates, and may contain glucose, fructose or high-fructose corn syrup. Some of the newer drinks are enhanced with vitamins and protein. Some studies have shown that individuals who are continuously and vigorously exercising may lose a lot of electrolytes (such as sodium, potassium, calcium, chlorine, phosphates and magnesium). Electrolyte depletion can cause cramps and heat illness. If you are exercising in warm weather and are sweating a lot, these sports drinks may be beneficial to you. However, experts also agree that water is still the best solution for high-performance athletes. Electrolytes can be replenished without the use of those sports drinks, which may include added sugars or artificial sweeteners. Instead, opt for bananas, coconut water, dairy and avocado to replace your lost electrolytes.

Hydration and Health

It’s important to stay hydrated, and we’ve explored the ways that you can stay hydrated and healthy this summer. Do you have some tips and tricks that you’ve found to stay hydrated and healthy? What do you, your kids or your grandkids do to make staying hydrated for health fun? Leave a comment below to share.

Summer Garden Care

For avid gardeners, spring and summer are the high points of their year. These are the times when gardeners get to experiment with color, grow and nurture their outdoor plants and reap the rewards that can only come from caring for and tending to one’s own garden.

Gardening Tips for Weather Woes

From the time when those first tender new plants are planted to the end of summer, wild ranges of weather conditions can occur. These conditions can be particularly hard on flowers and outdoor plants. High winds, blistering heat, downpours and dry conditions can all affect how your garden thrives (or doesn’t thrive). Miles Kimball has some tips and gardening tricks for beginners — as well as for seasoned garden novices — that will help them get, and keep, their gardens in tip-top shape.

Pick the Right Plants and Flowers for Your Region

Although picking the right plants and flowers for your gardens, raised gardens, hanging baskets and planters may seem like no-brainers, these are quite often gardeners’ downfalls. It’s vitally important to take where you live into account. Have your Midwestern heart set on tropical plumeria, hibiscus or bromeliad? Planting tropical plants like these in places that don’t get enough humidity and sun is a surefire way to be disappointed. Instead, check out this USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map. This is the standard by which many nurseries and plants are rated and will let you know where your plants will thrive. A plant’s zone is usually prominently displayed, either on its container or as an information note added to the pot’s soil. This will let you its zone, what type of water level the plant needs and what type of sun requirements are necessary. If you’re looking for easy flowers to grow, it may be as simple as finding the flowers that are native, or at least conducive, to your agricultural zone.

Sun or Shade

When you’re determining how to plant a garden that’s best suited for your home and its environment, it’s also important to take your home’s sun or shade levels into account. As a rule of thumb and as a gardening tip, you should always remember these four facts:

  1. The north side of your house receives the least amount sun;
  2. The south side is always the sunniest and is often the hottest;
  3. The east side of your home is a space where your flowers and plants will receive the gentle morning sun; and
  4. Your west-facing plants will likely face the brutal brunt of the afternoon setting sun, which can be very hot in the summer months.

Plan your garden by first learning which part of your home faces what direction. It is also vital to consider the microclimates in your yard. Microclimates are affected by large shade trees, unique angles and other structures.

Miles Kimball makes it super-simple to find easy flowers to grow. Consider our roll-out seed mats that were designed by a horticulturist and are created according to their sun-loving or shade-loving flower needs. Shop our shady annual tree ring, shady garden roll out seed mat or our sunny tree ring. If you want to attract butterflies and hummingbirds, check out our butterfly and hummingbird roll out seed mat. Love sunflowers? Planting them is easy as preparing your ground, rolling out our sunflower garden mat, watering and watching your sunflowers grow. Check out all of our plant and garden rolls for an easy garden to grow and to tend to.

Water Wisely

Everyone knows that all flowers and plants need water. However, watering your garden can be tricky. It’s often tough to know when to water and how much to water. Watering issues like watering too much, not watering enough and watering at the wrong time, can lead to poor plant progress. Experts all agree that watering in the morning is best for your plants. This is because the temperature is cooler: this gives the plants more time to absorb the moisture. Watering during the afternoon heat can cause water to evaporate quickly; alternately, watering at night can sometimes cause mildew. Remember that young seedlings and young tender plants need the most TLC, so plan on caring for your plants the most during their beginning stages.

Mulch

Mulch not only can make a garden look tidier, this extra layer of protection over the roots can help keep that summer heat at bay. A good layer of mulch also helps retain moisture, helps keep the soil cool, adds organic matter to the soil (mulch decomposes) and helps deter weeds. Garden tip: Adding three to five inches of organic mulch (pine needles, cardboard, wood chips, straw) will benefit your garden exponentially!

Crush the Competition: Weed and Dead Head

Weeds not only make a garden look untended, they rob your flowers’ and plants’ much-needed moisture. Keep weeds pulled. This, of course, is easier said than done. Weeds take advantage of the nutrients in the soil and often seem to grow hardier (and faster!) than your flowers or plants. A little weeding every day can greatly help your garden’s weed situation. While you’re weeding, this is also a good time to “dead-head.” This simply means snapping off the dried, spent or waning flowers, leaves or plants so your flowers can use their energy to produce new buds.

Miles Kimball has a great selection of lawn and gardening tools that will help you keep your lawn and your garden in top shape. Check out our folding garden seat, our three-in-one leaf race, our flexible fence edging and our extendable garden shovel.

Sit Back and Enjoy

Take time to enjoy your garden by adding some comfortable outdoor furniture, some bird baths and bird feeders and some spinners, chimes or windsocks, available at Miles Kimball. Gardens are hard work, but with our garden tips, you will see just how rewarding gardening can be!