If you’re thinking it’s a good weekend to work out since it’s a bit cooler, Buzz Fitness contributor Deborah Brooks reminds us that it’s still hot…so hydrate!
With temperatures hovering near or at the 3 digit zone all over Southern California, even at the ever cool beach, keeping hydrated is essential. Making sure we get enough fluid is vital on these beastly hot days. Dehydration can have dire consequences, especially when it’s hot and humid. High heat and humidity prevent sweat from evaporating off of our skin, the mechanism that cools our core temperature and keeps us from overheating.
Why is water so essential? The human body is approximately 70% water, with lean muscle and brain tissue approximately 80% water. We need to maintain these fluid levels in order to maintain homeostasis, the checks and balances system in the human body. When fluid levels are not maintained a cascade of negative effects can ripple through the body and cause illness and even death.
Here’s some of what water does for the body:
- Regulates blood pressure
- Regulates body temperature
- Humidifies the air we breathe
- Lubricates joints
- Transports nutrients throughout the body and into tissue
- Transports wastes out of the tissue and out of the body
- Acts as a solvent for electrolytes (sodium, potassium, magnesium)
- Aids in digestion
You can see that water plays many roles in helping us maintain good health and well being.
Telling you exactly how much to drink is tricky, as fluid needs can vary between individuals depending on diet, activity level, health status, and body size. A good measure would be to drink half of your body weight in ounces of water. For example, if you weigh 120 pounds you’ll drink equivalent to 60 ounces of water. It can be challenging to drink that much, so here’s a list of ways to help you get the fluid you need.
- Put a 2 qt pitcher of water in the fridge first thing in the morning and drink it all by the time you go to bed.
- Make it a pitcher of decaf or herbal tea if water is not palatable
- Make fruit water. Infuse your water with fresh berries , sliced cucumbers, chunks of melon, mint and/or citrus wedges. This is perishable so drink it all in one day.
- Keep a glass of water by the bed for sips at night and a drink before rising
- Drink a full glass of water before breakfast.
- Use a straw to drink. It seems to make water more palatable if you just hate water.
- Drink watered down juice with meals instead of soda if you need sweetness and flavor.
- Mineral water is OK if you’re not hypertensive and don’t need to limit sodium
- Seltzer is sodium free if you like a fizzy drink and need to limit sodium
- Drink 2 glasses of milk a day and replace fluid and calcium
- Eat lots of fresh fruits and veggies every day as they have a high water content
- Limit caffeinated drinks and alcohol as they act as diuretics causing water loss. Drink a glass of water for each caffeinated beverage and alcoholic drink.
I don’t recommend exercising outdoors in this heat unless you are part of a team or an extreme athlete. In that case consult your coach and or trainer for proper water and sports beverage intake. Keeping fluid and electrolyte levels in check is essential for any outdoor sports participation when it’s hot, so sports beverages should be part of your fluid intake.
Drink up and stay cool!
Deborah Brooks, CSCS is the Owner of Everfit Body She lives in Hancock Park with her husband and two sons. She is a NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist, ACSM Certified Personal Trainer, UCLA Certified Fitness Instructor and Precision Nutrition Coach.