Article by Dr. Joshua Lane
Summer is right around the corner and after the last year most of us are itching to get out and do something. Although it is certainly important to get your exercise (or beach time) in for the day, you need to realize that the summer heat is a formidable adversary. Here are some Hydration facts to help you have a happy and healthy summer.
There is a lot of information out there about how much water you should drink per day. Some say 8 glasses a day,5 some say 3 liters a day,3 other say it should be based on body weight.4 I think a good rule of thumb is to try and drink 0.5-1 oz. of water for every pound you weigh. In other words, if you weigh 150 lbs., you should try and drink between 75-150 oz. per day.6 In the summer heat, I would definitely shoot for that higher number.
So why do we need to drink so much water? Well, there are many benefits to staying hydrated.
- Heart Health- Oxygen is vitally important to every cell in your body. In fact, just like you or I, cells don’t do so well if they go too long without oxygen. The way they get oxygen is via the lungs and then the heart is the big pump that sends it out to the rest of the body. If you are dehydrated then there is less blood volume in your body. This mean that heart has to work harder to try and get the smaller volume out to the rest of your cells and keep them healthy. If you heart is constantly kept under this increased workload than this can lead to heart attack, stroke, or other heart related issues.7 Drinking more water in a day decreases this work load and helps keep your heart working at a healthy speed.
- Brain Health- Studies have shown that even a mild amount of dehydration can lead to mood swings, headaches, memory problems, fatigue, anxiety and a decrease overall brain performance.1,2 This mild dehydration can happen very easily if you are out in the summer sun enjoying the great outdoors so be sure to keep a water bottle by your side to keep your mood up. Your friends and family will thank you.
- Muscle Health- Have you ever had a painful cramp in your calf or thigh? These muscle cramps are often caused by a lack of fluid going to your muscles. The main culprit, you guessed it: dehydration.8 Drinking enough water helps maintain the fluidity in your muscles and joints and keeps you moving throughout the day.9 Be sure and drink lots of water when you are active outdoors this summer. Electrolytes found in popular sports drinks can also help avoid these unwanted muscle cramps and help you recover quicker after a long day in the sun.
- Overall Health- As we go through everyday life, we are constantly bombarded with toxins from food, drinks, and the air we breathe. Our body is an amazing machine that tries to filter out and attack these toxins so that we don’t feel unwell or fatigued.10 One way that you can help your body out with this task is to drink more water. Drinking more water allows your kidneys to filter more toxins out of your blood quicker to keep you energized throughout that morning hike. The more water you drink the less toxins you have in your system and the better you feel overall.
As you can see, hydration is an essential part of staying healthy. It helps almost every aspect of your body to help you feeling and moving optimally. So when you saddle up this summer to go tackle that yardwork that’s been staring you in the face make sure to take a water bottle with you and stay hydrated!
1 Mild Dehydration Affects Mood in Healthy Young Women | The Journal of Nutrition | Oxford Academic (oup.com)
2 Mild dehydration impairs cognitive performance and mood of men | British Journal of Nutrition | Cambridge Core
3 Water: How much should you drink every day? – Mayo Clinic
4 How to Calculate How Much Water You Should Drink A Day (restoreorthobiologic.com)
5 Do I really need to drink 8 glasses of water a day? | One Medical
6 How Much Water Do You Need? Can You Drink Too Much? (webmd.com)
7 Staying Hydrated – Staying Healthy | American Heart Association
8 Hydration and muscular performance: does fluid balance affect strength, power and high-intensity endurance? – PubMed (nih.gov)
9 The Role of Water Homeostasis in Muscle Function and Frailty: A Review (nih.gov)
10 Dietary water affects human skin hydration and biomechanics (nih.gov)