Spring is here and it’s time to relax and enjoy the warmer weather while taking a walk or a hike, swimming, playing soccer or simply having fun with the kids in the backyard. But while it is great to enjoy the sunshine, you also need to be more careful with hydration in the warmer months. Proper hydration is important, and it is not only applicable to people running marathons or training as a professional athlete. Anyone can become dehydrated, and being dehydrated means health problems. Here’s what to drink to stay in top form this spring.
What Should I Drink for Proper Hydration?
Water, water, and more water. Water is the cheapest and most effective way to hydrate. You don’t need to worry about sports drinks unless you are exercising at a high intensity for an hour or more (sports drinks replace the salts you lose through high-powered exercise but they are also high in calories). Water is calorie-free and always available. Fruit juice and sodas are good from time to time as part of a balanced diet, but watch out for the sugar. Coffee and tea will hydrate you to a certain extent but because they also contain caffeine – which is a diuretic – you can’t rely on these drinks for your hydration needs.
How Much Water Should I Drink?
Drinking plenty of water is the best way to avoid dehydration. The amount of water you need differs for different people, but you should aim for 6 to 8 glasses of water a day – at least. If you are exercising outdoors you will need to drink more in order to stay properly hydrated. Drink before, during, and after any physical activity especially when the weather is warm.
How Do I Know if I am Dehydrated?
You may start to feel tired or dizzy; you may lose your appetite or have flushed skin. Other signs of dehydration include a dry cough and an intolerance of heat. If you feel thirsty, chances are you’re already dehydrated. Drink water before you feel thirsty – don’t wait for the signal. If you want to check whether you are properly hydrated, look at your urine. If it is a pale yellow color then you are hydrated. Darker colors signify dehydration and the need to supplement with extra fluids.