The need for hydration in summer time cannot be over emphasized. During summer events, the sun is out, the weather is drier and hotter and loss of water from your body which is also known as dehydration is almost constant and occurs at a faster rate than other times of the year. That’s why it is necessary that we understand the importance of hydration in this hottest time of the year so we can avoid the effects of dehydration.
There are several reasons why you should remain hydrated during the summer; least of all is to avoid dehydration. Dehydration is dangerous among athletes and others engaging in physically strenuous activity, because it does not give any warning signs. Thirst during prolonged exercise, according to studies, occurs when the body is already almost dehydrated and cannot serve as an early warning signal.
You should note however that hydration is not restricted to water intake. Drinking water during workouts and physically strenuous activity in summer time can prolong your endurance time and help you fight off exhaustion, but you should know that increased sweat loss which occurs with prolonged exercise can lead to you losing large amounts of not only water, but also certain vital electrolytes. These vital electrolytes include sodium, magnesium, calcium; potassium etc. and they should also be replenished along with your water. Different ways exist of replacing water and electrolytes lost due to prolonged exercise, and among these consumption of energy drinks or sports drinks is one of the most popular. It is advisable to consume energy drinks rather than just water as an increase in water volume without a relative increase in electrolytes leads to a reduction in electrolyte concentration in the blood which is known as hyponatremia.
What Dehydration Does to You
As pointed out earlier, dehydration leads to fatigue and dizziness. The reason for this is low water volume in the blood reduces blood pressure which is reflected in a reduction in supply of blood to the brain and muscles, leading to dizziness and fatigue. Replenishing your water stores without increasing your electrolyte content results in symptoms such as cramps, loss of skin turgor, dry mouth etc. Studies have shown that if you are not urinating on an average of 5-6 times a day, you are most likely not properly hydrated. It is easy to plan a hydration strategy in the spring and maintain it, but with summer time and the increased sweat loss due to heat, you will get dehydrated far easier. Your urination cycle is an excellent way to monitor this.
Focus on Electrolyte Balance
To avoid these consequences of dehydration it is necessary to stay hydrated, not only with water but with the necessary electrolytes. Most sports drinks have a specific electrolyte balance which would most likely be beneficial for you. An overdose of electrolytes such as sodium can lead to swellings and water retention in your joints. Ensure you take your electrolytes in the right balance.
If you are not a fan of energy drinks or you prefer natural alternatives, it is also advisable to drink water while taking a fruit during and after exercise. This would help you restore your electrolyte and water balance. Fruits like banana contain large amounts of potassium but, the only demerit in this measure is that you may be unable to predict the amounts of a particular electrolyte. You may have heard this before, but avoid caffeine if you are trying to rehydrate yourself. This is because caffeine causes water expulsion which would increase dehydration rate.
So if you are planning some major events this summer, maybe a race or a fitness program, remember that dehydration can sneak up on you. So while shopping for your race and work out equipment, make sure you don’t forget your water bottle.