It is crucial to make sure that you get enough to drink once the temperature starts to rise. The heat makes it important to stay hydrated whether you’re being active or just relaxing outside. As our bodies are primarily made up of water, it makes sense that proper hydration not only keeps you from not feeling well, but also provides what every cell, organ and tissue needs to function properly. Water also helps the body cool off through evaporation of sweat off the skin, so even when you’re sitting outside, you should be drinking water to replenish what you’re losing via sweat.
How Much Water Do I Need?
On average, most people should drink around 6 to 8 8-ounce glasses of water each day. People with certain medical conditions may need to drink more or less water. Please speak with your doctor if you are concerned or have questions about how much water you should drink.
Checking your urine is a quick and easy way to get an idea about your hydration status. If your urine is pale or light yellow, it indicates that you are probably getting enough fluids. If your urine is dark yellow or amber, you may be dehydrated.
Tips for Getting Enough Water
Water should always be your drink of choice, especially when it is really hot outside or you feel like you may be getting dehydrated. Many people, however, struggle with making sure that they drink enough water during the day. If this sounds familiar, there are several tricks you can use to help you drink more water.
- Consider other drinks. Water isn’t the only beverage that helps you stay hydrated. Milk, tea, coffee, fruit juice and even soda all contribute to the amount of water you drink each day. They aren’t the ideal choice, however; sodas and juice carry a lot of extra sugar and calories, and some people can react to the caffeine in coffee or tea.
- Look at what you eat. Most fruits and vegetables are also a good source of water. Watermelon, cucumber and tomatoes are especially rich in water. Soup broths are also high in water content and can be a great way to add extra fluids in to your diet. Though hot soup is kind of tough to eat in the summer, you can consider cold soups like borscht or gazpacho instead. Making sure to eat a diet that is full of fresh fruits and vegetables is an important part of staying healthy and hydrated.
- Buy a water bottle. Make sure to carry water with you whenever you go out. Any old water bottle will do, or you can go ahead and get a fancy bottle that keeps your water cold for an extended period of time, especially if it means that you’ll use it. Get something that you’ll be excited to use and want to carry with you. Fill it up frequently and sip from it throughout the day.
- Drink throughout the day. Instead of trying to catch up on a day’s worth of water at night, try to remember to drink small amounts of water all day long instead. This prevents you from spending the night in the bathroom urinating out all of the extra water you drank.
- Use ice. For some people ice water is much easier to drink than room temperature. It’s especially refreshing on a hot day to have ice-cold water available.
- Try drinking on a schedule. If it’s hard to remember, try putting yourself on a schedule. Have a glass of water when you first wake up, at breakfast, with a morning snack, at lunch, with an afternoon snack, at dinner, with a bedtime snack and right before bed. Getting used to drinking water at set times helps to keep yourself on track.
- Recognize the signs. Learn to recognize when you are thirsty; this may sound silly, but thirst is often mistaken for hunger. If you’re feeling hungry, try drinking a glass of water before you eat anything. If you’re actually thirsty, the water will satisfy the hungry feeling. If you are really and truly hungry, the water won’t help.
- Make a checklist. If you, like so many others, live by your to-do list, go ahead and add 6-8 check boxes for your daily cups of water. It’s fun and empowering to check off items from your list and if you refer to it frequently, it also serves as a great reminder to have another glass.
- Think about your workout. Make sure to drink water before, during and after each workout, especially in the summer or if you are exercising outdoors.
- Make it fun. Get a silly straw that makes you smile or fun stickers for your bottle. Add fruit, herbs (cucumber and mint, for example) or flavorings into your water. Spice up your water with a Medifast Infuser or try a mocktail for sum refreshing summer fun! Do whatever you need to do make yourself remember to drink.
- Try seltzer. Not a fan of plain water? Try drinking seltzer or soda water instead. Stick to the low sodium varieties, but plain or flavored seltzer water have all of the benefits of drinking water, while it feels like you are drinking soda. There are many different brands with many flavor options. You can also just add a splash of lime, orange or grapefruit juice. Try throwing in a handful of frozen fruit—berries and peaches work particularly well.
Signs of Dehydration
It is just as important to recognize the signs of dehydration as it is to drink an adequate amount of water. Dehydration can progress quickly, especially in people with certain medical conditions (bladder infection, fever, vomiting or diarrhea), are pregnant or breastfeeding, or who are trying to lose weight. Children and older adults are also at a higher risk for dehydration. Signs of dehydration include:
- Dark urine
- Dry mouth or lips
- No tears or sweat
If you or someone close to you is experiencing the signs of dehydration, it is important to take action quickly. You (or the affected person) should drink plenty of water and sit in a cool and shady spot, or move inside, if possible.
The Bottom Line
Drinking water is always important, but especially so during the hot summer months. Keep water nearby, and try to drink throughout the day to allow your body to function properly and you to focus on enjoying the sunshine.