by Sean M. Crosetti, MBA, PharmD, Crosetti Health & Wellness
With the heat advisories pinging your cell phone almost daily and the dog days heading this way; I felt talking about how to hydrate when active outside to be a good idea.
First things first, no matter what you do, the need for at least eight 8 oz. of water a day to maintain the basic levels of hydration is imperative. Hydration maximizes your body’s functioning in every aspect. Dehydration (1-2% of total body water decrease) can decrease concentration, metabolism, endurance, removal of toxins, recovery, immune response, body temperature regulation, and other bodily functions.
The standard of eight 8 oz. may need to change depending on several factors the person may have: medications, diet, activity, renal function, environment, illnesses, etc. A good rule of thumb is if your morning urine is darker than a pale yellow, or lemonade color, you are dehydrated and in need of more fluids.
Other facts/ideas when outside:
If you are hydrated before you venture outside in the heat, your ability to stay hydrated is enhanced;
Drink before you are thirsty, if you wait for thirst to drink you are already behind in replacing lost fluids;
Drinking a little bit frequently is much better than drinking a whole lot infrequently;
Make sure to rehydrate after work as well to reduce the chance of chronic dehydration;
As long as you eat regular meals daily, your need for salt/electrolyte supplements (sport drinks/ salt tabs) are low unless you are having prolonged heavy sweating over several hours;
Water consumption is the best means to rehydrate.
For the people over 60, monitoring and ensuring proper hydration in even more important. Dehydration is one of the most frequent causes of hospitalization with a 50% mortality rate within a year of hospitalization.
Some of the reasons for this are as follows:
Decreased kidney function due to aging and potentiated by lower water intake;
Reduced sense of thirst leads to chronic dehydration as the drive to return to hydration is lost over the years;
Lower total body water related to aging drives the body to steal from body tissues to effectively eliminate waste products;
Ways to increase your daily fluid intake when not outside (little steps are better than no steps):
Carry a water bottle with you wherever you go;
Attempt to drink at least 16 oz of water at all meals;
Snack on fruits and vegetables;
Fruit smoothies for breakfast or snacks as a change up;
Begin lunch or dinner with vegetable soup;
Drink a glass of milk after training or before bed;
Have some herbal tea in the evening
(the amount of caffeine in tea, coffee and soft drinks will not affect overall hydration).
Energy drinks (frequent consumption daily) can lead to chronic dehydration and can increase the strain on the heart.
Maintaining the reservoir of water inside your body high not only helps you stay out of the hospital, it also helps your body stay at its peak performance levels. So when you place a large drain in the reservoir by going outside in extreme heat or exercising in hot temperatures, it behooves you to place just as large of an inlet to the reservoir.
This is done through not only rehydrating during the outside excursion, but also before and after to ensure complete return to stasis.
Please feel free to reach out to us at Info@Crosettis.com, or your care provider, with any questions about this article. Let me know if you would like me to write about a topic of your interest.