Summer heat can have a profound impact on athletes. Heat exhaustion and heat stroke can easily occur when you push yourself despite the heat. Staying hydrated is important not just to your athletic performance but your overall health. Drinking enough water to replenish what you lose while exercising is critical. One of the best ways to reduce your risk of heat-related medical issues is to keep yourself hydrated. It can be a difficult task, especially if you are training for a big race. Here are some great tips to help you stay cool and well-hydrated during the hot summer months.
1. Drink Enough Water. You should be drinking quite a bite of water daily, although some of that intake will come from foods. You may want to start carrying a reusable water bottle with you wherever you go. This will make it simple for you to take a sip when you want one. Ideally, you’ll be drinking small amounts throughout the day, reducing or eliminating the sensation of being thirsty. Cool water can help you focus and can help you stave off snacking impulses. If you aren’t sure if you’re hungry or thirsty, take a drink before you reach for a snack.
2. Check Your Urine. It may sound gross, but your urine is the best indicator of your hydration level. Healthy urine from a well-hydrated person should be light in color and not have any powerful odors. The darker, cloudier and more pungent your urine is, the more likely it is that you’re not getting enough water. Prolonged dehydration can lead to a number of issues, from cramps and headaches to kidney issues. Getting enough water to keep your urine looking pale yellow and clear is important.
3. Eat Whole Foods, Especially Produce. You get water from your diet, not just your drinks. Eating a lot of vegetables and fruits every day will help increase your fluid intake. Whole foods are less likely than processed foods to be riddled with sugars and salts, which can dehydrate your body. The fruits and vegetables can be a substantial source of water intake in your daily diet. As a bonus, you also get vitamins and minerals, as well as fiber that will help you overcome cravings for sugary or salty treats.
4. Stay Hydrated While Exercising. Drinking before, during and after a workout can help your body regain fluids lost to sweat. For most daily exercise routines that last less than an hour, water is the ideal means of staying hydrated. Exercising in extreme heat or for longer periods may require beverages with carbohydrates and electrolytes, like sports drinks. If you aren’t sure how much water you should be drinking, try weighing yourself before and after an intense workout. For each pound you lose, drink three eight-ounce cups of clean water.
5. Listen to Your Head and Follow Your Mood. Grouchiness is a common side effect of dehydration. If allowed to progress, your dehydration could easily cause a serious headache. If you’re having symptoms of dehydration, take a break and drink at least a full eight ounces of cool water. Don’t wait until it develops into something worse, like kidney stones, which are associated with prolonged periods of dehydration.