Every day, our bodies naturally lose water. Perspiration in the summer months, particularly if you're active, increases the amount of water you lose each day, so replacing this water is incredibly important.
Water is required in a number of biochemical reactions, supplying nutrients and removing waste. It is essential to maintain your blood circulation through your body and your body temperature. Dehydration can be serious leading to problems ranging from swollen feet or headaches, to life-threatening illnesses such as heat stroke.
The amount of water you need varies between people. Thirst isn't the best indicator of when you need to drink either. If you're thirsty, then you're already dehydrated. For athletes a good indicator of how much fluid you need is to weigh yourself before and after exercise to see how much you've lost through perspiration. You need to drink three cups of water (or other fluid) to replace every 0.45 of a kilo lost.
Proper hydration is critical for your body function, but its also important to consume the right fluids. We've outlined some tips on the best way to keep hydrated in summer.
- Drink enough water to prevent thirst (carrying a water bottle with you is a good way to do this as it's likely you'll mindlessly sip from it throughout the day)
- Monitor fluid loss by checking the colour of your urine - it should be pale yellow and not dark, too smelly or cloudy
- Drink water before and after low to moderate intensity
- If you're exercising in extreme heat for more than an hour, supplement water with a sports drink containing electrolytes and 6-8% carbs to prevent hyponatremia
- Although water is best, other fluids like coffee, tea, juice (except alcohol) can help increase your water intake (the amount of caffeine in tea and coffee does not discount the fluid in them)
- Eat water rich foods such as fruit and vegetables
- Following strenuous exercise, you need more protein to build muscle, carbohydrates to refuel muscle, electrolytes to replenish what's lost in perspiration, and fluids to rehydrate - Low-fat chocolate milk is perfect to fill those nutritional requirements.
On average a piece of fruit is usually made up of around 80% water and supplies additional nutrients other than just water.
Apples = 84%
Blueberry = 80%
Rockmelon = 89%
Peach = 89%