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Staying Properly Hydrated In The Hot Weather

So, we all enjoy the beautiful warm weather in the Bradenton and Sarasota area! But do you know the importance of staying properly hydrated in the hot weather?

Water accounts for approximately 60% of our body weight, and every cell, tissue and organ relies on it in order to function properly.  Water is essential for a number of major biological tasks, some of which include maintaining temperature, removing wastes and lubricating joints.  Keeping the body hydrated helps the heart more easily pump blood through the blood vessels to muscles, and in turn, helps muscles work more efficiently.

Of the large amount of water in the body, only about 10% of it is in the bloodstream, and much of this water can be lost through sweating, our body’s natural cooling mechanism.  Exercising in any environment causes the body to sweat, and the warmer the temperature, the more sweat is produced.  Performing intense exercise in hot and humid conditions can lead to sweating up to three liters, which is more than half the water in our bloodstream.

Sweat evaporates quickly in dry weather, so only a small amount of sweat is needed to lower the body’s temperature, but in humid conditions, it takes much longer to evaporate.  This causes you to sweat more, and if you don’t replenish the amount of water your body loses, it leads to dehydration.  The main symptoms of dehydration are little or no urine (or urine that’s darker in color than usual), dry mouth, intense thirst, confusion, nausea, sleepiness/fatigue, headaches and dizziness/light headedness.

On hot days—especially if you’re exercising

The most important way to prevent dehydration when exercising is by not waiting until you’re thirsty or notice symptoms to start drinking water.  On hot days—especially if you’re exercising—it’s imperative that you drink plenty of water at all times.  Below are some additional tips to help you stay hydrated while exercising in the summer sun:

  • The exact amount you need to drink depends on your body weight, body temperature, type of exercise and weather conditions, but as a general guideline, drink several glasses of water spaced throughout the day; you are usually well-hydrated if your urine is very light yellow or clear
  • Water is the best option, but if you’re exercising at a high intensity for longer than one hour, a sports drink with electrolytes may also be necessary
  • Drink cool rather than very cold water, which your body will absorb better
  • Wear loose-fitting clothing that will allow air to circulate
  • Avoid drinks with caffeine, as it’s a diuretic and will make you lose more fluids
  • Try to exercise in the shade and avoid direct exposure to the sun if possible
  • Get in the habit of drinking lots of water throughout the day

It is always great to get outdoors and savor the sun with your favorite form of exercise, but it also requires a bit of caution while doing so.  Keep these pointers in mind and avoid any heat-related complications like dehydration, and for any injuries or pain you may be experiencing, Physical Therapy Doctors of Florida in Bradenton, FL can help.  Call us at 941-264-1414 to schedule an appointment.