|Staying Hydrated During Your Summer Activities |
UPDATED July 9, 2009
By WeatherBug Meteorologist, Patrick O'Hara
|Water - it`s all around us. It covers more than 70 percent of the earth`s surface. It`s fun to play in during the summer. Water plays an important role for every person on earth, and staying hydrated is extremely important.|
Most people think drinking water is just a way to quench thirst, but water does more than that, it is the most important nutrient in the human diet. When the human body is dehydrated, you feel hungry and want to eat, when all you really need is a glass of water. The reason for this is that dehydration fools your body into thinking that it needs more fuel to keep running. Water will hydrate your body and suppress this hunger.
How much water is needed on a daily basis? The average person needs six to eight glasses in a day, and even more during hot weather. This sounds like a lot, but don`t despair. Most fruits and vegetables contain up to 95 percent water.
The important thing to remember is to not wait until you are thirsty. When you are thirsty, your body is telling you that you are already dehydrated.
Regular exercise is crucial for a healthy lifestyle. Exercising in incredibly hot temperatures, usually exceeding 90 degrees, the body will exhaust its fluids quicker, allowing dehydration to set in. Remember, it is important to stay alert of both the outdoor temperature and the heat index. The heat index is the temperature that the body thinks it is when you add in the humidity with the temperature. Outdoor activities in heat indices over 90-degrees can be detrimental without constant hydration.
Water is best to drink to stave off dehydration. Flavored sport drinks are good too, but they contain electrolytes such as sodium and potassium. Sodium, or salt, will make you thirstier and cause you to need to drink more. Juice and milk contain a high percentage of water, but also contains calories, so if you are watching your weight, it would be better to drink water. Do not drink caffeinated - such as coffee or sodas - and alcoholic beverages, these drinks will cause the body to become more dehydrated.
Children, who are thrilled to be on summer vacation from school, spend most of their days outside. It is not surprising that children will dehydrate quicker than adults. The increased sweating from hot weather is a leading cause of dehydration in children. Other causes of dehydration in children include digestive conditions like cystic fibrosis, consequences from diabetes, or infections.
In many cases, children won`t notice that they are dehydrated; they`re more interested in playing in the hot, summer sun. It is important for parents to encourage their kids to drink water as much as possible. Try to keep them on a schedule, maybe make them stop once an hour for a water break. Drinking water is a great habit for kids to pick up.
This summer, when you and your family are out and about, remember to take frequent breaks to rest. But while you take these breaks, remember to drink plenty of water. It`s cool, clear and tastes good, keeping you and your family happy and healthy, not only during the summer but the whole year through.
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