From volleyball and swimming to walks in the park or water balloon fights, there are plenty of ways to enjoy the warm weather. Fun in the sun can quickly turn dangerous, though, when you are dehydrated.
When you’re outside, your body temperature rises with the increasing thermometer; activity can cause an even greater spike. You create more sweat, and you lose more fluids than you would on a normal basis. Summer dehydration is especially common because most people don’t drink enough liquid to replace the lost fluids.
How much water IS enough?
As a rule of thumb, most experts recommend six to eight glasses of water throughout a normal day. Others advise that adults should drink half of their body weight in ounces of water; a 150-pound person, then, would drink 75 ounces of water each day. It will vary for each person, as well, depending on their body composition, activity level, and environmental temperature.
In the summer, if you are active for less than 30 minutes, you should add in one or two extra glasses of water. For longer periods of activity or time outside, drink at least three more glasses of water.
Don’t chug water all at once, though. Water intake and sodium levels are very closely linked; too much or too little can spark hyponatremia, a condition when sodium levels are too low. Hyponatremia is most often caused when excess water dilutes the sodium levels. Symptoms of this condition may include nausea, vomiting, and headaches. More severe symptoms, like seizures, confusion, and falling into a coma, are rare.
A healthy diet includes a certain amount of sodium. Too much can raise blood pressure and plays a part in a number of diseases. Too little has also been shown to factor into strokes, heart attacks, and other serious health issues.
To avoid the chances of a dehydration-caused imbalance, try eating some of these foods that are known to aid in re-hydration:
- – Watermelon
- – Celery
- – Cucumbers
- – Strawberries
- – Iceberg lettuce
- – Tomatoes
On the other hand, stay away from these foods and drinks, which are known for causing dehydration:
- – Chocolate
- – Alcohol
- – Excess protein, especially in cured meats
- – Fried foods
- – Salty foods
- – Sugary or caffeinated drinks (soda, energy drinks, etc.)
Stay alert to signs of dehydration, which can start with a dry, sticky mouth, extreme fatigue, dry skin, and headache, but quickly become severe, with symptoms like sunken eyes, low blood pressure, a fever, mood changes or even loss of consciousness.
While mild symptoms can be treated at home, seek medical attention immediately if you experience any of the symptoms associated with these two life-threatening conditions:
- – Excessive sweating
- – Moist and cool skin (goosebumps)
- – Dizziness
- – Confusion
- – Rapid pulse
- – Nausea and/or vomiting
- – Headache
Heat Stroke *the most life-threatening of heat-related conditions
- – Increased headache
- – Dry, hot skin
- – Inability to sweat
- – Vomiting/dry heaving when stomach is empty
- – Erratic heartbeat
- – Shallow breathing
- – Confusion, disorientation or other behavioral changes
- – Loss of consciousness
- – Seizures
This summer, strive to meet as many of your fitness goals as possible, but please do so responsibly by staying properly hydrated under the beating sun. Or, rather than running or exercising outdoors in the unbearable heat, stay cool during your workouts in the fully air-conditioned Summit facility! Check out our schedule for a list of group classes that you can enjoy without risking the dangers of summertime heat!