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.