It’s finally summer!! We’re all sweating, spending a little (or a lot) of extra time in the sun, and dipping our toes in that H2O. While it’s always important to make sure we’re keeping ourselves hydrated, it’s easy to forget to give our bodies a little extra love when they need it most: in the summertime heat. Here are some easy tips to fight dehydration, balance your electrolytes, and keep your muscle fatigue to a minimum.
Feeling lightheaded, whether it’s during exercise or while spending time in the heat, is a sign of dehydration. When you lose water, the plasma volume in your blood decreases. This means the heart has to work harder to get blood around the body. Not only that, but both blood volume and blood pressure drop, resulting in dizziness. Other side effects of dehydration can include headaches, lack of energy, weight gain, lack of cleansing and detoxification, a weakened immune response, getting colds and flus easily, feeling lethargic, and experiencing brain fog. Dark yellow urine may also indicate dehydration.
Not surprisingly, water is the most critical thing for rehydrating the body after fluid loss, even if it’s just minor sweating or peeing. Your number one priority should be to start drinking half of your body weight in ounces of water a day. For example, if you weigh 150 pounds, you should aim to drink about 75 ounces of water every day.
When we naturally lose water throughout the day, we also lose electrolytes, which are minerals in the blood that help to regulate (among other things) the amount of water in the body. Not into sports drinks or want a more natural alternative? Coconut water has an abundance of electrolytes, so include it after a tough gym session, to help you get through a sick day, or after a long day at the beach.
Lean muscle tissue is made up of over 75 percent water; not surprisingly, when the body is short on fluid, muscles are more easily fatigued. Staying hydrated helps prevent decline in strength, power, aerobic capacity, and anaerobic capacity during exercise. When your muscles feel too tired to finish a workout, try drinking some water and taking a few minutes to rest before resuming exercise.
To stay hydrated, you actually need to exercise. Exercise helps to increase circulation throughout your body, whether it’s cardiovascular training, burst training, weight training, or just going out and walking. Movement increases circulation to get more nutrients and electrolytes into your cells, balancing hydration levels.
Besides knowing what to drink, what can we eat to keep our bodies fluid throughout the day? Many fruits are a great source of both electrolytes and fluids. Bananas and dates are known for containing amazing levels of the electrolyte potassium, making them a great option for refueling during and after an intense workout. On top of that, both fruits and vegetables are packed with electrolytes like magnesium, calcium, potassium and sodium, which are key components in fighting electrolyte imbalance, which in turn aids hydration.
Some of the most hydrating foods include celery, watermelon, cucumber, kiwi, bell peppers, citrus fruit, carrots, pineapple, iceberg lettuce, radishes, tomatoes, cauliflower, spinach, berries, and broccoli. Another easy way to make your meals even more hydrating is to get all-natural sea salt (either Celtic sea salt or Himalayan salt) and sprinkle a little on your food. The benefits of sea salt all center around hydration, because when you drink water, you also need the electrolytes sodium and potassium. Sea salt helps balance your water and potassium levels due to its sodium content and also helps to alkalize the body.