Summer is here! The South Bay’s hottest months are upon us, along with all the summer festivities we have come to know and love. Between the 4th of July, pool parties, barbecues, concerts, and other events, we often find ourselves spending our time both indoors and outdoors during these warm months. It can be all too easy to find yourself suddenly craving a glass of ice water after spending too much time at the beach without properly hydrating. This is why it’s extremely important to stay on top of your water intake during the summertime, as dehydration can cause unnecessary stress on your body and take the fun out of a party or event quickly. Follow these few steps to keep summertime dehydration at bay.
Drink Water and Plenty of It!
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, daily fluid intake recommendations vary by age, sex, pregnancy, and breastfeeding. Start by drinking a cup of water each morning when you wake up or a glass before bed. Have another glass with every meal. Drink one or two cups after working out. To ward off dehydration, drink fluids gradually throughout the day.
It may sound excessive, but the hot weather and harsh sun make your body work in overdrive during the peak hours of the day. While water is the best source of hydration on the overall, an electrolyte or sports drink can give you an extra boost if you’re working out.
Avoid Caffeinated and Alcoholic Beverages
Drinks like coffee, energy drinks, beer, and wine will actually make you feel thirstier than you did before you drank them. They are loaded with ingredients that remove water from your tissues, or have a diuretic effect that passes water through your system more quickly. Consider swapping these out for more water or a low calorie sports drink, especially before or after going to the gym. Of course, there are going to be days you can’t avoid that caffeinated drink or you’ll enjoy an alcoholic beverage with friends. Just make sure you’re also drinking enough water to avoid dehydration.
Workout Indoors When You Can
Hitting the Hermosa Beach Strand sounds tempting, but on days that are simply too hot, leave your workout indoors. Doing a workout at home or even taking a few laps at indoor track or pool can save you a sunburn and a dehydration headache. Bring a reusable water bottle and fill it up at one of the water stations whenever you’re running low to stay properly hydrated while also saving the environment. Consider taking a group fitness class if your workout time falls between 2 PM and 5 PM, the hottest hours of the day, to avoid harsh weather conditions during an outdoor workout. Drinking a glass of water while at the gym can keep you cool even during peak summertime, as water helps regulate your body temperature as well as hydrating you.
Eat Foods with High Water Content
Whole fruits and vegetables are filled with valuable nutrients, and they have the added benefit of giving you a hydration boost. Focus on foods like watermelon, strawberries, broccoli, lettuce, celery, tomatoes, peppers, and grapefruit. These all contain 90% water or higher!
Consider the Weather and Dress Wisely
Even if you aren’t exercising outside, your body will remain warm and require more hydration. Sitting outside on a cloudy day may feel cooler, but any temperature above 70-80 degrees will require you to be vigilant of your water intake. Try to wear cotton or nylon clothes outdoors, as cotton allows air to circulate and helps keep you cool, and nylon is highly sweat wicking.
Be Aware of Dehydration Signs
It can be valuable to know the symptoms of dehydration in case of an emergency. Symptoms in adults can children can include:
- Excessive thirst
- Feeling dizzy
- Dry mouth, lips, and eyes
- Feeling tired
- Dark urine
- Shallow breathing
If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, the simple solution is to get out of the heat and drink plenty of liquids. There are small over-the-counter options like Pedialyte and Hydralyte that balance out electrolytes and sodium with dehydration as well. If your dehydration is severe, call 911.
For many of us, Summer in the beautiful South Bay is one of the busiest times of the year, as well as the most fun. With these tips, you can stay safe and hydrated during all your warm weather activities by remembering to stay adequately hydrated, especially when working out.