By Danielle Schipani Hackensack Meridian Health
Everyone knows that staying hydrated is one of the most important ways of maintaining wellness. There are many benefits to staying hydrated, including higher energy levels, maximizing physical performance, and avoiding headaches.
But, does the amount of water a person should drink, change with the seasons? Should you drink more during the summer months?
“Typically, in the warmer spring and summer months people sweat more,” says Dr. Anne Park, D.O., a primary care physician at Hackensack Meridian Medical Group, who specializes in nutrition and obesity. “Dehydration can cause your blood pressure to drop, which can make you feel like you are driving with an empty tank,” explains Dr. Park.
How do I know if I’m hydrated?
Signs of dehydration include lightheadedness, headaches, dry mouth/eyes, constipation, and having very concentrated urine. Dr. Park recommends keeping a bottle of water in your bag, work desk, and nightstand so that you have a visual reminder to drink water throughout the day.
On average, a person should have eight 8oz glasses or roughly two liters of water every day. During the warmer months, you should drink roughly two and a half liters. Sticking with water is the best way to stay hydrated. You can change it up by adding some fresh fruit, like cucumber, for added flavor and or other un-sweetened beverages. Sugar and caffeine have dehydrating effects.
Sometimes people want some variety in their beverages throughout the day. One healthy and satisfying option includes non-caffeinated tea. “Another option would be what I like to call nature’s Gatorade, bone broth! Sports drinks can sometime cause more harm than good since they often include high fructose corn syrup that our liver does not like digesting. But bone broth is a natural and great way to stay hydrated,” says Dr. Park.
Am I at risk for dehydration?
There are some people who are more at risk for dehydration during the summer months, including”
Individuals who take diuretics
Anyone with poor oral intake
Those with heart or kidney disease
Additionally, children can be at risk for dehydration when they are playing outside. It’s important for parents and caretakers to make time for water breaks so that children can stay hydrated when playing outside in the sun during the warmer months.
Chronic health issues or not, hydration is not just about the water you consume, it is a balance between water and salt. Dr. Park explained that too much water can wipe out the concentration gradient, leading to a hyponatremic state, which is when the level of sodium in the blood is too low. Having a balanced diet can help to avoid hyponatremia.
Benefits of staying hydrated
Staying hydrated keeps your body in balanced homeostasis. “About 60% of the human body is made up of water, and the body is made up of all different kinds of cells. Each cell contains water, and they perform best when they are filled with water,” says Dr. Park. Forcing your body to work while dehydrated can lead to a stressed system.
If you are constantly reaching for water while exercising, that’s a sign that your body doesn’t have enough water to perform at the highest level. Focusing on hydration before a workout can help you fill the tank and can lead to better performance and recovery.
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The material provided through HealthU is intended to be used as general information only and should not replace the advice of your physician. Always consult your physician for individual care.