Water Water Everywhere! 4 Tips to Stay Hydrated This Summer
With record heat hitting much of the country, we’re reminded daily of the important role water plays in our lives. I can personally attest that after spending a day outside in Oregon’s recent 95+ degree heat, there was nothing I wanted more than a tall glass of H2O. Not only is water wonderfully refreshing, it can also be the difference between a fun summer afternoon outdoors and death.
How important is staying hydrated, anyways? Consider this: the average human can live weeks without food, but generally no more than three days or so without some source of hydration. The body requires water for nearly all of its functions. And if you’re engaging in some form of physical activity, you will need even more water to stay properly hydrated. The effects of dehydration can range from your typical hangover-esque symptoms of headache and nausea, to more dangerous symptoms, like heart palpitations and coma. Under normal first-world living conditions, you probably aren’t going to reach the more severe levels of dehydration, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be careful engaging in outdoor activities this summer. Lack of hydration will hasten conditions such as heat exhaustion and stroke.
4 Tips to Stay Properly Hydrated in Summer
Follow the 8x8 Rule
So how much water should you drink each day? Well that depends on your level of activity and climate. Generally speaking, following the 8X8 rule will keep you sufficiently hydrated. That means eight, 8oz glasses of water or approximately half of a gallon each day. Think of water like calories; you need to take in as much as you’re burning. However, unlike calories, it’s okay to err on the side of extra H2O.
Drink Water Before Each Meal
Many of us have good intentions; we don’t purposely avoid water, we just simply forget to drink the recommended daily amount. So if you’re like most people and need a reminder, here’s a simple trick to help you stay hydrated: Drink a full 8 ounce glass of water before every meal or snack. This tip is also a great way to curb appetite, as water can help bring on the feeling of fullness quicker. Still need prompting? Download an app that tracks your water consumption, such as Waterlogged (Apple) or Water Your Body (Android).
Give H20 a Flavor Boost
If you find straight-up water to be a bit boring or even downright unpleasant, don’t despair! There are many ways to make water more palatable. No, we’re not talking about sugar-free "water" that’s filled with harmful additives and artificial sweeteners. Healthy and natural ways to give your water a flavor boost would be to infuse it with fresh fruit or veggies, such as a citrus rind from an orange, sliced cucumber or ripe berries for sweetness. Crushed mint leaves also provide a delicious and cool flavor profile without adding extra calories. If slicing produce sounds like too much work, then try coconut water. Naturally cholesterol free, coconut water is chock full of healthy fats and potassium to help keep you hydrated and features far less sugar and sodium than typical sports drinks.
We’re all busy people. When you’re on the go, carry a water bottle with you, that way you always have H2O at arms length. Before you head to the nearest big-box store for a case of bottled water, consider purchasing a reusable vessel instead. Most brands of disposable water bottles leech harmful chemicals (like BPA, which has been proven to cause birth defects in animals) from the plastic into the water. Chemical contamination becomes even worse if you continue to reuse the plastic bottle. There are several safe options available for reusable bottles, including glass and BPA free plastic; some even come with built-in filters or infusers. We guarantee your body, wallet and the environment will thank you.