Although dehydration is a risk any time of year, it’s particularly important to stay on top of continuously replacing lost fluids throughout the summer months when the temperatures are hot and our activity levels increase.
We all know about the eight-glasses-of-water-a-day rule, but the truth is that staying hydrated isn’t really that simple. Each individual’s hydration needs will vary depending on a variety of factors including gender, age, height, weight, diet, activity level, and more.
Though it may seem silly, it’s often a mistake to wait until the sensation of thirst kicks in before starting to rehydrate. The body may already be dehydrated once thirst is felt, which is why thirst can be an unreliable measure of hydration/dehydration.
Instead, focus on the following to ensure that you never end up dehydrated. Take these hydration tips with you throughout the summer (and beyond) to keep your body healthy, your head clear, and your energy up!
1. Drink Water First Thing in the Morning.
One of the best things you can do to start your day off right and give your body a boost is drink two glasses (about 16 ounces) of water right after you wake up. After going 7 or 8 hours without consuming any water, your brain and your body need it to prime and prepare themselves for the day. Believe it or not, water will help wake you up even better than coffee.
2. Cool Off During Your Yoga Practice.
Summer is the time of year to go easy on yourself in your practice by integrating more restorative cooling poses and pranayama to reduce body heat. Forward folds work to cool the body, reduce anxiety and stress, help with digestion, and give the brain a boost. Cool off with any wide-legged forward fold or take a rest anytime in your practice by moving into child’s pose.
3. Sip on Water All Day Long.
Some people set goals for their daily water intake, but it’s not exactly necessary. If you sip on water all day and increase your water intake before, during, and after your activity level increases, you should be good to go. According to WebMD, it’s good idea to drink two cups of water two hours before any outdoor activity (such as walking, running, or biking) while drinking 4 to 6 ounces of water every 15 to 20 minutes during the activity to maintain hydration.
4. Increase Your Fruit & Veggie Intake.
A large part of your hydration comes from the foods that you eat — not just the fluids that you drink. Grains like rice and bread have a much lower water content than fresh fruits and veggies, so plan on filling half your plate up with them. Foods that are highest in water include leafy greens like spinach, green peppers, celery, cucumbers, raspberries, oranges, grapefruit, pineapples, cantaloupe, strawberries, and watermelon.
5. Replace Electrolytes Naturally.
Electrolytes are needed to help your body absorb the water you consume to properly hydrate itself — especially when you sweat a lot. You’ve probably heard of sports drinks like Gatorade that claim to do the trick, but you can actually replace electrolytes naturally through the foods that you eat. Before and after you decide to get active, make sure to snack on whole foods rich in potassium, magnesium, and sodium like bananas, avocados, leafy greens, cruciferous veggies, and starchy veggies.