Whether you call it glowing, perspiring, or just plain ol’ sweating–summer heat takes it out of us…literally! Sweating is one of the major ways in which we lose water. And replacing it is very important, since water is vital to all body processes.
With summer just around the corner, it’s more important than ever to keep track of how much water you drink. But do I really need 8 glasses of water every day?
Well, yes, you do. Especially during the summer months, drinking water is the most important thing you can do to keep your body healthy.
Since you’re probably already thinking about being outside–and all that summer fun you’ll be having, it’s important to remember summer can be a dangerous time for you if you don’t get enough fluids to keep hydrated.
The human body is made up primarily of water. In fact, about 2/3’s of it. Water is needed for everything from regulating temperature to going to the bathroom. Water forms the basis for blood, digestive juices, urine and perspiration. Water is contained in lean muscle, fat and bones. You even expel small amounts of water when you breathe.
But your body can’t store water, so we need fresh supplies every day to make up for what’s lost.
While a diet containing lots of fruits and vegetables can supply about 4 cups of water per day, it is still necessary to drink an additional 6 to 8 cups per day to supply enough water to meet the body’s daily needs.
Especially during hot weather, your body uses its water supply quickly, so you need to be prepared to hydrate throughout the day to protect your body from dehydration.
Dehydration occurs when the water content of the body is too low. And here’s the kicker…if you wait until you feel thirsty, it’s already to late. Water takes about 30 minutes to be absorbed by the body, so you need to drink fluids before you feel thirsty to make sure you’re not in danger of dehydration.
Fortunately, mild dehydration is easily remedied by increasing fluid intake. But, dehydration can be very serious and can even lead to death in extreme cases. Symptoms can include headaches, lethargy, dark-colored urine, weakness, tiredness, confusion and hallucinations.
And while any beverage can help you get your daily 8, you might want to consider limiting caffeinated and alcoholic drinks during the summer months. These drinks have a diuretic effect, meaning they stimulate the kidneys to excrete more urine. Not only do these types of drinks cause us to lose water, we also lose water-soluble vitamins, such as vitamin C, vitamin B (thiamine), other B complex vitamins, and potassium. For every caffeinated or alcoholic beverage you drink, you might consider adding an additional glass of pure water.
We should all try to get approximately six to eight glasses of a variety of fluids each day. But if you are physically active, especially during hot and humid summer months, you will actually need a few more glasses to maintain optimal hydration.
So even though it may seem like a drag to have to drink all that water, just remember your body really needs it. So drink up! Increasing your water intake is one of the healthiest things you can do this summer.