3 Ways to Stay Safely Hydrated In the Summer Heat
Staying safe in the summer is about more than sunscreen and protective gear. Hydration is essential for a healthy summer of fun. Together, heat and dehydration can lead to dizziness and cramps on the mild end of the spectrum to confusion and even seizures on the severe end.
Every part of your body relies on water to work well. This means proper hydration isn’t just about stopping heat stroke. It supports healthy functioning for your brain and nervous system, heart, immune system, digestive system, muscles, and more.
Here are a few ways to help you stay safe in the heat with proper hydration:
2. Drink enough water
It’s obvious, but it’s number one for a reason.
You’ve probably heard you should drink eight eight-ounce servings of water per day — that’s a little under two liters. Or, you may have heard to drink a third to half your bodyweight in ounces. But per the Institute of Medicine’s Dietary Reference Intake for Water, most adults should actually have several liters of water per day.
How much water to drink per day:
- Children: 1-2 liters
- Women: 2-3 liters
- Men: 3-4 liters
For pregnant and breastfeeding women, the number is even higher. And for people sweating it out in the summer heat, it’s higher too.
The good news is, it’s not too hard to stay hydrated. Being hot makes you feel thirsty. So, as long as you listen to your body’s cues, you’ll find hydration is pretty simple.
But if you’re looking for hard and fast advice besides “drink when you feel thirsty,” here’s a helpful hydration guideline for those who plan to be doing vigorous outdoor activity in the heat:
- Drink 20 ounces an hour or two before outdoor activity
- Drink about 10 ounces for every 10 to 15 minutes of outdoor exercise
- Drink 16-24 ounces after to replace the water you’ve lost
Forget to drink water? Try to find a bottle or insulated cup you really like. Keep it with you wherever you go and you’ll automatically drink more throughout the day.
P.S. If you really want to get into the nitty gritty science behind “drink when you feel thirsty” versus “drink a certain amount per day,” here’s a published study in the Sports Med journal to sate your curiosity.
2. Remember electrolytes
While your body needs more water to stay hydrated in summer, too much can flush key elements like sodium, potassium, and magnesium out of your system. It’s not super common, but even mild electrolyte imbalance can leave you crampy, headachy, dizzy, and lethargic.
If you’ve been sweating more than usual, electrolyte solutions can help maintain or restore proper balance. (We love Liquid IV and DripDrops.) Electrolyte solutions can also help treat dehydration more effectively than water alone. Just be cautious choosing popular sugary sport drinks. The high sugar content could work against your goals.
P.S. If you’re into popular sports drink brands like Gatorade, you might be pleased to know 2022 brought the release of Gatorade Fit: a natural electrolyte drink. It uses watermelon juice and sea salt to provide the same amount of electrolytes as regular Gatorade without the sugar and artificial ingredients.
3. Snack on fruits and veggies
Summer activities can make you hungry, too. Whether you’re spending a day at the beach or providing snacks for Little League, fruits and veggies are your friend. Lots of fruits and veggies are almost one hundred percent water! Take advantage of that fact when it comes to summertime snacking.
Next time you’re at the grocery store, look for these crisp and juicy water-rich snacks in the produce aisle:
As a bonus, you’ll be adding valuable vitamins, nutrients and fiber to your diet with every bite.
And a few parting thoughts:
Wear heat-friendly clothing like loose-fitting cotton to allow sweat to do its job cooling you off. Keep lips hydrated with a lip balm that includes SPF. And, if you’re treating yourself to a beachy alcoholic beverage, just remember alcohol is a diuretic (so is caffeine, for that matter), which means it can contribute to dehydration, and act accordingly.