When summer brings on the heat, staying properly hydrated before, during and after workouts will help keep your temperature in check. Proper hydration is critical, as water is one of the six essential nutrients your body requires for proper growth, maintenance and repair. Water is used for virtually all functions, including digestion, absorption, transporting nutrients, building tissues and maintaining body temperature. But most people don’t drink enough water. Inadequate water consumption can cause heartburn, stomach cramps, low back pain, headaches, weakness and cramping.
The amount of water you require depends on your size and activity level, as well as your climate and outdoor temperatures. Rather than the standard eight, 8-ounce glasses per day, use your total body weight divided by two and drink that many ounces of water per day. For example, if you weigh 150 pounds, 75 ounces of water would be an ideal goal.
If you’re expending a lot of energy, it’s also a good idea to replenish your body with electrolytes. Electrolytes are essential minerals that work in balance to maintain fluid regulation and proper cellular and muscle function. A balanced diet generally supplies sufficient amounts of minerals, but in times of excessive heat, dehydration or intense exercise, adding a small amount of fresh fruit juice or sports drinks formulated with electrolytes can be helpful.
Stay mindful of the importance water plays in your body, and make packing a water bottle a daily habit for all your family members. And as the weather heats up this summer, and activity levels rise, you’ll be able to keep your cool with proper hydration and a balanced diet.