The warm weather brought by summer can be perfect for beach visits, lounging by the pool, picnics in the park but the key to enjoying all these activities is hydration. When the weather outside is bright, sunny, and warm, our bodies lose more water through things like sweat which can leave us more susceptible to dehydration.
How much water do we need?
How much water we need to drink depends on the individual, we’re not all the same size or build and we don’t all do the same physical activity nor are we exposed to the same environments. However, most adults should aim for 2 litres per day or 6-8 glasses but there isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach.
That’s because certain factors like, temperature, exercise or illness can also affect the amount of water you need to drink. Drinking water little and often is a good approach but you shouldn’t wait until you feel thirsty because this is an early sign that your body is becoming dehydrated.
How to prevent dehydration
Firstly, what is dehydration?
Dehydration is where the body loses more water than it takes in which if left untreated can be a serious health issue.
The best way to prevent dehydration is to drink water throughout the day. If you struggle to drink water or even monitor how much you’ve drunk, a Hydratem8 tracker bottle is for you. They’re simple to read and use, so you’ll never forget to drink again.
Sometimes, illness can make you more susceptible to dehydration. For example, if you feel sick or have been sick then you may find it more difficult to drink water. However, it is important to start drinking small sips and gradually increase them as you feel better. If you vomit, then your body is losing water, and so it is important to replace the water lost to prevent dehydration symptoms.
The same is true if you exercise or are exposed to hot temperatures because these activities can cause you to sweat which means your body is losing more water. So, drinking water before, during, and after physical activity can help to replace the fluid you have lost.
What are the symptoms of dehydration?
Some of the common symptoms of dehydration include:
· Dry mouth, lips, eyes, and skin
· Feeling lightheaded or dizzy
· Dark yellow, strong-smelling pee
· Urinating less than 4 times per day
Is water the only hydrating drink?
No, water isn’t the only drink that keeps us hydrated, drinks including milk, tea, coffee, fruit juices and smoothies all count. However, it is important to understand that drinks containing caffeine like tea and coffee can make us pee more often, which means we will need to take in more fluid to replace what is lost. Plus, sugary drinks like fruit juice, smoothies and fizzy drinks which may contribute to hydration also contain high levels of sugar which can negatively affect our health. Therefore, these should be consumed in moderation.
Staying hydrated is important at all times of the year, but summer can increase the risk of dehydration because your body will lose more water through sweating and urination. Therefore, it is essential to keep your fluid levels topped up throughout the day. It is possible to do so with most drinks but you should also be aware of the caffeine and sugar contents of some popular alternatives to water.
Harvard Health Publishing Harvard Medical School. (2020). How Much Water Should You Drink? Available at: https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/how-much-water-should-you-drink
National Health Service. (2019). Dehydration. Available at: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/dehydration/