Check Your Health: Staying hydrated in the heat

Stay hydrated in the heat by drinking water before you feel thirsty, doctors say. (Photo: KUTV)
(KUTV) — Drinking more water needs to be a conscious effort with the hot temperatures outside. When it’s warm, the risk of dehydration increases.

“It’s really important to prioritize hydration, really every day, but especially if you’re going to be doing any activities outside,” said Jenna Ellis, Registered Dietitian at TOSH.

Common signs of dehydration include:

  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness
  • Confusion
  • Dark colored urine
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Extreme thirst

However, don’t wait until you’re thirsty to get a drink.

“Make sure you have a glass of water in the morning. That kind of gets us in the right mindset that we need to be drinking throughout the day,” Ellis said.

Make a point to drink water at every meal and always carry a water bottle. Don’t forget that food can also help hydration. Snacking on foods containing a high-water content can be a good strategy, especially for kids.

“Anytime we can add in fruits and vegetables, especially on these hot summer days, it’s going to be a plus,” Ellis said.

If you plan to exercise, try going out in the morning or later in the evening when the temperatures are cooler. Make sure you’re hydrated before you even start.

“Any exercise lasting longer than an hour, and especially when you’re in the heat, you want to be mindful,” Ellis said.

If you’re outside for more than an hour, try to get some type of fluid every 20 minutes. Water should be your main source of liquid, but if you’re going to be exercising for an extended period of time and sweating more than normal, then some type of electrolyte might be appropriate.

“The main electrolyte we lose through sweat is sodium so that’s why when we’re exercising for longer than an hour or if we know we’re heavy sweaters, it’s important to make sure that we’re doing a salty pre-workout snack or making sure we do incorporate some sports drink in there,” Ellis said.

This helps reduce the risk of cramping. If you know you’re going to lose a lot of fluid, try weighing yourself before and after that long hike or ride. For every pound of sweat lost, make a point to drink at least 20 ounces of fluid.

Not only is dehydration dangerous, it’s also linked to poor performance both physically and cognitively.

Follow Check Your Health on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.