Proper hydration in summer activities


by Stephan J. Smith

If we were to talk about pool activities in the summer, I don’t think your first thought would be your water intake. You’d be thinking, “I’m in the water, why do I need to think about water?” Unless you’re drinking what you’re swimming in, and I absolutely don’t recommend that, (see last week’s post!), you need to think about hydration.

Spring seems to have come early to us and the weather is quickly heating up with some unseasonably warm temps here in the Great Lakes area. Soon, summer activities, whether in a pool or not, will cause us to exert more effort and we will naturally lose fluids as our bodies try to cool down.

Watch kids for proper hydration

Children are especially vulnerable to dehydration and must be monitored closely. There is a lot of advice out there about how much fluid is enough and how much is too much, as well as what fluids to drink. Generally, water is best, but if you’re sweating a lot, you lose valuable body salts as well and you need to replace those too. A sports drink or specific electrolyte solution is often necessary as they replace those lost electrolytes and also cause your body to absorb more water.

A good rule of thumb to avoid dehydration is as follows: Active people should drink at least two cups (16 ounces) of fluid one to two hours before an outdoor activity. After that, you should consume 5 to 10 oz of fluid every 10 to 15 minutes that you are outside. When you are finished with your activity, you should drink more. How much more? To replace what you have lost: at least another two cups.

One way you can check to make sure you are properly hydrated is to look at your urine. If it’s clear, pale or straw-colored, it’s OK. If it’s darker than that, you need to keep drinking! Be careful, though…some things you drink will cause you to dehydrate rather than hydrate. Alcoholic and caffeinated beverages, such as tea, coffee and colas, are not good for optimal hydration. These drinks tend to pull water from the body.

Observe these simple rules and your warm weather activities will not cause your body excessive hydration strain. Last one in the pool is a rotten egg!

Guest post by Dr. Stephan J. Smith. Dr. Smith is a wellness expert and Chiropractor in Brighton, Michigan. Along with Dr. Vladimir J. Brajak, he co-owns Advantage Family Chiropractic and is available to speak to your group, organization or company on several popular wellness topics. For more information or to schedule a talk local to Brighton, contact us at 810-288-5823.