Water is one of the basic needs required for human life. About 70 percent of the human body is made up of water and your vital organs couldn’t function without it. Consequently, it’s important to continually replenish your body with water, especially during the warm summer months.
However, sometimes that is easier said than done. When the weather heats up during the summer, you can become dehydrated more quickly, even if you feel like you’re drinking enough water. With a little planning on how to stay hydrated, you can enjoy a safe and healthy summer full of all your favorite outdoor activities.
The importance of hydration
When your body loses more water than it takes in – the state of being dehydrated – you don’t have the liquid required to perform normal functions. If you feel tired, irritable or dizzy after being outdoors or in a hot room, dehydration could be the culprit. Other symptoms include:
- Extreme thirst.
- Infrequent urination.
- Low blood pressure.
- Urine that is dark in color.
However, avoiding these symptoms isn’t the only reason why staying properly hydrated is important. Lack of adequate hydration over an extended period of time can lead to other more serious health issues, according to the Mayo Clinic. While minor dehydration can simply be treated by drinking water, severe cases may require intravenous treatment by emergency personnel.
Older adults in particular can be more susceptible to dehydration and should be intentional about drinking enough water. However, it’s also possible to get too much water, especially if you have certain medical conditions or are on a medication that causes your body to retain fluids. Because of this, it’s important to talk to your doctor to determine the right amount that you should be drinking each day.
Tips for staying hydrated
The key to staying hydrated is to drink plenty of water. But sometimes that is easier said than done. When you’re thirsty, your body is already dehydrated. So it’s important to drink water regularly even if you don’t feel particularly thirsty. Keeping a glass of water with you at home and carrying a water bottle when you travel are good reminders to replenish your fluids regularly. Looking for some variety? You can also make a large pitcher of sugar-free iced tea to keep in your fridge for a refreshing – and hydrating – drink. Or try a refreshing sugar-free popsicle to get additional liquids.
Staying hydrated isn’t just about drinking a lot of water. There are a number of other precautions you can take to avoid dehydration during the summer. Stay inside when possible, especially during the hottest part of the day, and try to stay in the shade while spending time outside.
The American Association of Retired People additionally recommended wearing white. Lighter colors reflect the sun, which will keep you cooler on warm days. You can also use a bottle to spray yourself lightly with water if you’re spending time outside gardening or during rigorous physical activity.