Water. You either love drinking it or you hate it. While I agree that drinking water is somewhat boring since it doesn't truly have a taste, it's a necessary evil to those who despise it. Our body is made up of primarily water (give or take around 70%), and when you aren't staying hydrated it can have some serious consequences to your health.
The fact of the matter is that our body cannot produce water, it is something that we need to consume in order to maintain proper hydration levels. When water is expelled through urine or sweat, it needs to be replenished since it is involved in almost every bodily function and process. When the summer months are here and we are out in the sweltering heat, staying hydrated is even more important.
The Importance of Staying Hydrated
This is probably an uncomfortable topic for many but it's something we need to lay out there. In order for you to stay on top of your hydration, check your urine output for a quick snapshot. While it doesn't give you the extent to which you may be dehydrated or not, it is definitely an indicator. For instance, if your urine is clear or a light yellow (think lemonade color) you are properly hydrated. If you notice your urine output is a dark yellow, that signals dehydration and should be an indicator that you need to drink more water (as in immediately).
If you exercise or play sports (recreational or professional) you are going to need to pay close attention to your water intake. Such activities will cause you to sweat out not only water but minerals as well. Staying hydrated doesn't start when you become thirsty, it begins before you even reach that point. By the time you are thirsty, you are already starting to get dehydrated (just not at an extreme level at that point). Water will help you take the elevated internal heat created by your workout or metabolism and carry the heat away from your organs and through the bloodstream (eventually becoming sweat) to prevent damage and to naturally cool your body down and regulate its temperature.
When you lose about 2% of your body weight from water is when the sensation of thirst starts to become apparent. At this point, you could already be noticing a decline in your physical or even mental performance. If you are exercising for less than 60 minutes, your best bet is always going to be water. If you are training or exercising for more than 60 minutes, you should consider not only water but some sort of sports drink that will provide you with essential minerals such as electrolytes to help maintain proper hydration levels in the body and to allow you to maintain your performance.
Some people will argue that they are getting some water through the foods they consume on a daily basis, but I personally would not even count that in your daily requirements. If you consume a diet high in plants, you indeed get some water from that source as plants are generally around 80% water. But you should be focusing on the actual water intake you DRINK rather than what you EAT.
Summer Hydration Tips
- Check your urine output (color) often to ensure you are hydrated
- If urine output (volume) is low or you haven't urinated for a while drink more water
- Take a bottle of water with you everywhere you go so you can sip it throughout the day
- If exercising or out in the heat where you are sweating, drink water during and after
- If sweating excessively, take in electrolytes with your water to replenish lost minerals
- If you are thirsty you need to drink water
- Limit alcohol consumption if you are out in excessive summer heat
Dehydration can sneak up on you and can lead to heat exhaustion if you aren't paying attention during hot summer months (especially if you are being active outdoors). If you feel dizzy or overheated, get out of the sun and slowly start sipping water. It would also be wise to place cold compresses to your chest, neck, and head to aid in lowering your body temperature.
Not a Fan of Plain Water?
As pointed out above, staying hydrated is extremely important but what if you absolutely hate the taste of plain water? It’s simple… add some Beast BCAA 2:1:1 to your water. Available in some amazing flavors, you can not only help stay hydrated this summer, but you can finally enjoy drinking your water.
Some people prefer to dump a serving in a bottle of water while others dump a few scoops in a gallon jug and take it with them wherever they go (which can be advantageous to have with you for intra-workout recovery). Either way you choose, you can’t go wrong with this method to help stay hydrated while aiding in muscle recovery.