Staying Hydrated While Working Out During the Summer Months
Summertime heat is right around the corner and staying active indoors, or outdoors can
pose a challenge if you are not properly hydrated. Warmer temperatures are an invitation
for people to venture more frequently outdoors, so if you are maintaining your fitness
lifestyle, it is extremely essential to drink enough water to replace loss fluids.
Water is an important element for life and essential for your body to function. Water helps
to regulate your body temperature, lubricate your joints, and aids in transporting nutrients
and waste throughout and out of your body.
The challenge to accessing your water intake is understanding how much water is enough,
and being aware of the signs of dehydration. Proper hydration or a lack thereof can make or
break a good workout and fitness goals. Knowing these symptoms will help you to ward off dehydration, so
you want to be aware of following signs of dehydration:
– Dry skin and/or mouth
– Decreased urination
– Increased heart rate
A note of caution to be aware of are the rare cases where the opposite of dehydration can
occur, which is overhydration or Hyponatremia. This condition takes place when too much
water dilutes the electrolytes in your body. Overhydration is just as dangerous as
dehydration and can have very serious physical consequences and even lead to death.
A few basic recommendations to staying hydrated is to drink at least 64 ounces of water
per day, limit your coffee, alcohol and sugary beverage intake and make it a habit to drink
water prior, during and after your workouts to help replace the fluids lost. The amount of
water you intake will also vary depending on how much sweat your body excretes. If you
plan to increase your water intake, increase it gradually as to not throw off your body’s
electrolyte balance. A regular and steady intake of water and listening to your body will help
maintain a proper level of hydration. However, if you are a visual learner like me, checking
the color of your urine is beneficial in figuring out whether you are properly hydrated, or dehydrated.
Viewing the chart above, you want to make sure you stay within the lighter shaded colors.
Clear urine is an indicator you may be drinking too much water so be sure to keep this in
mind and monitor the output of fluids.
Unfortunately, there is no magic number of cups of water a person should drink daily, only
recommendations. Though people should aim to drink at least 64 ounces per day, the
National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine recommend the following water
intake based on gender:
Men – 15.5 cups of water per day
Women – 11.5 cups of water per day
Everyone is different, which means needs will also be different. If you fall above or below
the recommended baseline yet appear to be properly hydrated and feel well, you should be
fine. Recommendations always change and will continue to do so because no one knows for
certain how much water is enough for our bodies. Remember when drinking 8 cups of water
per day was the rule of thumb? Even that has since changed. If you are like me still
struggling to get those 8 cups of water in per day, below is a list of ways to increase your
water intake without feeling completely overwhelmed.
Creative ways to increase your water intake:
1. Drink a glass of water as soon as you wake-up
2. Add fresh lemons or fruit to your water bottle
3. Set reminders on your calendar at work or phone to drink water throughout the day
4. Drink a glass of water after each bathroom break
5. Drink a glass of water before every meal
6. Keep a gallon of water with you at all times
7. Select sparkling/mineral waters over sodas
8. Use an app to track your water intake (Water Logged for iPhone; Water Your Body
for the Android)
9. Start a water challenge with your friends or family
10. Eat more water rich foods (cucumber, watermelon, grapefruit and zucchini)
11. For each glass of wine, drink a glass of water
12. Mark your water bottle for tracking with fun motivational sayings
13. Drink through a straw
14. Drink herbal tea with no sweetener
15. Drink hot water with lemon before bedtime
16. Keep a bottle of water at your bedside for nighttime sips
Without doubt, staying active and hydrated during the summer months are important but
the same notes of caution should be taken in the colder months. Ironically, the colder
winter months can also deplete the body of its necessary fluids, so try adopting these tips all
year long and DRINK UP!
If you have concerns or questions regarding your water intake and how much is required
for you, always check with your Primary Care physician.
Christie R. Edwards, MPH
Fit Results Ambassador