Summer is coming. While we all know that hydration is an important part of a healthy, active lifestyle, sometimes we underestimate how much we need to pay attention to changes in our hydration needs as the weather changes. To make things easier for our athletic- and athleisure-type friends, we’ve got the skinny on hydration, and tips and tricks to keep the summer sun from making you melt.
Human beings are two-thirds fluids, and we lose that fluid throughout the day even if we are not participating in strenuous exercise. Think about how many times we can be sitting around, running errands, or at work, just pushing away that parched feeling because there are other things to do or it doesn’t seem that important. That is the habit to break; if you are feeling thirsty, you are already dehydrated. While this at first feels only mildly uncomfortable, not taking in as much fluid as is lost can quickly make one feel sick.
As with anything, early recognition is the key to prevention. Two early warning signs that it might be time to drink a bit more are feeling thirsty and darker colored urine. Other symptoms can include dizziness, tiredness, headache, using the bathroom less frequently, and dry mouth, lips and eyes. If left unaddressed, dehydration can lead to weakness, loss of stamina, and heat exhaustion.
Once we know what to look for, however, it becomes easier to be mindful of our bodies’ needs. Keeping a water bottle on hand throughout the day can help us remember to drink more. If water alone is just not cutting it, trying infusing some with citrus, herbs, and other fruits, or diluting a favorite juice. If you find yourself in need of something more than water, rehydration tablets that contain a mix of amino acids, vitamins, carbohydrates, and electrolytes from companies such as Nuun, Gu, and UCAN are good options with a variety of flavors.
Need to improve your hydration habits but not sure where to start? Check out some of our staff and running club’s favorite tricks:
- Keep a bottle with you -- Becky, Old Saybrook running group
- Avoid salty foods, and take trails and shady roads on hot, sunny days -- Benny, Old Saybrook running group
- Drink constantly, rehydration takes time -- Steve, Old Saybrook staff
- End your run with a jump in the ocean -- Amylu, Old Saybrook running group
- Drink lemon water in the morning (half a lemon in a glass) -- Brielle, Marathon Sports apparel buyer
- Alternate electrolytes and water, or be sure to have one electrolyte drink a day -- Chris, Old Saybrook manager
- Wear appropriate clothing, you can always remove layers -- Leslie, Old Saybrook running group
- Have a water bottle with Nuun -- Lisa, Branford manager
- Have the temperature of water you like to drink with you; I make sure I have cold water with me because I don’t like room temperature water -- Melissa, Old Saybrook running group
For more information on recognizing dehydration, check out the NHS and Red Cross pages on the topic. Have some questions, a favorite water stop, or some tips and tricks of your own to share? Add them in the comments or on our Facebook pages!