Spring is here! And, where I live, we’ve just skipped right into summer with the heat. So, I have been answering hydration questions and reminding more of my clients to stay hydrated.
There is so much information out there on specific amounts to drink per day and what to drink. Some sources even explain a schedule of what and how much to drink so many minutes before your workout, during and after your workout. Moreover, they further divide this advice by what type of exercise you are doing. Typically, these sources are targeting the near-elite or elite athlete. Alternatively, the advice given to the general population for everyday hydration does not usually specify for people who work out.
So, I will give you these simple guidelines to stay hydrated during summer.
- Drink 2 liters of water each day. Take a water bottle—recyclable or buy one you can re-use indefinitely—and measure how much it holds. The typical small bottle of water you can buy anywhere from the grocery store to a gas station convenience shop holds 500 milliliters or about 17 ounces. (Check the label) Let’s say you have one of these bottles. Make sure you drink four of them each day. Put it on your desk at work and take it with you when you go out.
Don’t worry about other liquids you take in or how much water your food contains unless you drink an unusually high amount of something. For example, some people drink a LOT of iced tea every day. (We’re talking a pitcher or more!) So, maybe that person doesn’t need to drink 2 liters of water each day. Maybe only 1 liter of water. For the rest of you, make sure you drink 2 liters of water each day.
- On the days when you exercise in the summer heat or sweat a lot during an indoor workout, replace some of those 2 liters of water with a sports drink. When you sweat you lose not only water, you lose zinc, calcium, magnesium, potassium, and sodium, along with a few other things. So, replacing those electrolytes is important.
Many studies have now been published which show that milk-based products beat sports drinks when it comes to rehydration. These milks include cow’s milk, soy milk and milk-based liquid meal supplement (think Ensure).
Water alone cannot replace the sodium and other electrolytes you lose when you sweat a lot. And, in the summer, this is very important to know. You can drink too much water. This can lead to a drop in sodium levels, which leads to more dehydration. So, drink that sports drink or a glass of milk!
- Check the color of your urine. Normally, pale yellow or clear means that you are hydrated. Darker yellow or orange color means you are dehydrated. It’s pretty simple.
Do note this: When you are drinking more water to try to get rehydrated, your body can only process so much at a time. Up to a certain point, it will get rid of what it can’t handle through urine, and your urine may be a pale yellow or clear color. So, you may have a false sense of hydration for a bit. If you get more than mildly dehydrated, it can take 2 to 3 days to get your body hydrated again.
These are the basic guidelines to follow to stay hydrated. Sure, there are less common things to watch out for. But, for most people, these will serve you well. Let’s review:
- Drink 2 Liters of Water Each Day.
- Drink Sports Drink (or Milk-based Drink) When You’ve Sweat A Lot.
- Check the Color of Your Urine.
Have a happy, healthy and hydrated summer!
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