Everyone’s talking about how hot it is outside as if the person sweating next to them wasn’t already aware of it. But there’s no need to avoid the great outdoors—or your workout—just because it’s warm! Just make sure you’re well-hydrated in these types of temperatures. For the most part, it’s an easy task – keep a bottle of water nearby and drink it regularly. But there’s more to just drinking water to stay hydrated. It’s about recognizing the signs of dehydration, in yourself and especially among infants, children, and the elderly, who may not be as diligent about drinking water routinely.
Signs of dehydration:
- Dry mouth and throat
- Little to no urine
- Little to no tears
- Muscle cramps
What if you don’t like water? There’s lots of other alternatives to staying hydrated besides just drinking water.
1. Sports drink. This thirst-quenching, electrolyte-replacing beverage is great after a workout because it hydrates and replenishes the body with salt lost from sweat. Don’t want all that corn syrup found in store-bought ones? Here are some recipes to make your own.
2. Coconut water. Touted as one of the miracle beverages in recent times, coconut water is a light, nutty-flavored drink that takes you back to the tropical islands while rehydrating you. It contains low sugar and high potassium, helping speed along recovery and avoid cramping and fatigue. But beware – like anything, you want to drink it in moderation: a 42-year-old man drank eight 11-ounce bottles on a particularly hot day while playing tennis, and ended up hospitalized for too much potassium.
3. Milk. We’ve been gleefully hearing the rumors about the benefits of drinking chocolate milk after a workout to hydrate and recover (and they’re true). Now add regular milk (skim or 2 percent) as another option for hydration. Not only does it have a lot of water in it, it has vitamins and nutrients to keep your bones healthy.
4. Coffee and iced tea. What, drink caffeinated beverages? Aren’t they supposed to be diuretic? In fact, these drinks are mostly water. Not only can caffeine wake you up, it can enhance your workout performance and sharpen your focus. Lay low on the sugar, and you’ll find a happy alternative to just plain ol’ tap.
5. Food. A great deal of your food consists of water, some more than others. Not only that, they taste good, and contain essential vitamins. A double win in the hydration game! Cucumbers, watermelon, iceberg lettuce, celery, oranges, tomatoes, strawberries, and broccoli are all good ways to sneak in extra water and nutrition at the same time.