How to stay hydrated
Barbadians have been crying about the heat in recent weeks.
Keeping yourself hydrated under these hot weather conditions is very important to avoid heat-related illness. Proper hydration becomes even more important when performing strenuous, physical activity in high temperatures.
The more the body sweats under such conditions, the more fluid you need to replace. If you ever suffer from dehydration in hot weather, you are subjecting yourself to health risks such as heat stroke, heat exhaustion, heat cramps and heat rash.
Here are seven ways you can stay hydrated in hot weather to avoid heat-related illness:
1. Drink Before You Feel Thirsty
It is important to drink fluids before you even begin to feel thirsty. Your body uses thirst to indicate that you are approaching dehydration. Rather than drinking to quench your thirst, it is healthier to continuously replenish fluids, even if you don’t feel thirsty at all.
2. Go with Water Instead of Sugary Beverages
While a sugary beverage can help quench your thirst, it also carries excess calories that can be detrimental to your health. Since you have to hydrate your body with fluids more frequently under hot weather conditions, you’ll be taking in more calories than you usually do if you look towards sugary beverages for hydration.
3. Keep a Water Bottle with You
Invest in a reusable water bottle and always keep it handy. You can replenish the water bottle’s contents anytime you are near a sink, water dispenser or fountain. Even if you don’t plan on doing any strenuous activity outdoors, having a water bottle on hand will allow you to drink your fluids regularly and before you feel thirsty.
4. Use Natural Flavouring in Your Water
Sometimes people have trouble drinking enough water to stay hydrated because they prefer something with flavour, and/or it’s difficult for them to drink water when they aren’t feeling thirsty. A little natural flavouring from a slice of fruit like lemon, or some fresh cucumbers is a great way to add a little flavour to your water, without adding as many calories as drinking a soda.
5. Avoid Alcoholic Beverages
Having a couple of frosty beers is not a good idea if hydration is your goal. While you might feel more refreshed at first, you’re likely to feel dehydrated soon afterwards due to the effects of alcohol from all that beer.
6. Have a Sports Drink During Vigorous Exercise
There is a chance that your body will produce excessive sweat due to strenuous activity in warm temperatures. Under such circumstances, a sports drink might be more useful than water since it can also replenish any nutrients lost in your sweat, plus it is one of the best ways to stay hydrated. Just keep in mind the calories.
7. Track Your Water Intake
It can be very easy to forget to hydrate, especially if you’re working outdoors and are more focused on the task at hand. Try setting an alarm on your watch or phone to help you remember when it is time to hydrate. This is why having a reusuable water bottle handy is important for staying hydrated.