7 Tips to Stay Hydrated During St. Louis Summers
Tomorrow is technically the first day of summer, but in St. Louis, we have already experienced summer-like temperatures. How are you going to beat the heat this summer? One extremely important thing to keep in mind while you are on vacation, enjoying the pool or barbecuing in your backyard is hydration.
It has always been said that you should drink “8 glasses” of water each day to keep your body well hydrated. So let’s think about that for a second. A 6-year-old girl and a 40-year-old man need the same amount of water for their bodies to be well hydrated? Or even a 135-pound woman and a 200-pound woman? It doesn’t seem right, does it?
Water is life. It is what keeps your organs functioning, your cells regenerating, your joints lubricated, your body temperature regulated…the list goes on and on. Because water is what fuels every cell, tissue, and organ in your body, it doesn’t make sense that people of completely different body types and compositions need the same amount of water.
So, how much water do you actually need? New studies suggest the appropriate amount of water needed to hydrate one’s body is “half your body weight in ounces.” For example, if you weigh 150 pounds, you need at least 75 ounces of water each day. Now that is only a general rule. If you are training for a vigorous sporting competition or spending long hours out in the heat and humidity, you should increase your water intake by about 15-25 ounces. If you have a fever or are breastfeeding or pregnant, you also need to increase your daily water intake. (If you are still unsure of how much water you need each day, consult your chiropractor or primary physician.)
But what happens to your body if you don’t get enough water? Well of course, dehydration. That term is tossed around casually but it is actually a very concerning problem. Do you know that water is what carries nutrients throughout the body and it’s what carries toxins out of the body? Therefore, a dehydrated system is not going to allow for your body to function optimally. It may even cause pain and other symptoms.
Here are some indications that you might be dehydrated:
- Intense thirst
- Dry mouth
- Using the bathroom less
- Dark colored urine (dark yellow or orange)
- Dry skin/hair
- Achy joints
- Few or no tears when crying
Follow these steps to avoid dehydration during St. Louis summers:
- First do the math. Divide your body weight by 2 to determine the minimal amount of water your body needs each day.
- Buy a water bottle (glass or BPA-free is best) marked with measurements to make tracking your intake easier.
- Bring your water bottle (filled of course) with you everywhere you go, refill it as needed.
- Avoid long hours out in the sun, especially during the hours of peak temperatures (temperatures typically peak around 3pm).
- Drink water before, during and after each meal (this also helps with digestion).
- Drink water before, during and after any physical activity such as exercise or sporting competitions.
- Increase your water intake (as discussed above) if you are pregnant, breastfeeding, have a fever/vomiting/diarrhea.
Sum mer is something everyone looks forward to. The kids are off school, vacations are being taken and family barbeques are in full swing. Make sure you are taking all the right measures to ensure you are well hydrated and your body is functioning optimally. And parents, teach your children the importance of proper hydration and make sure they are getting enough water each day!
Have a safe and healthy summer, Dr. Sarah.