Tips To Avoid Dehydration This Summer

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Warmer weather coupled with longer days means you’ll be likely spending more time outside. This is caused by the undeniable association between the warmth of the sun and the desire to be active. We all know however, that as the temperature rises there is a larger demand for fluids to increase. So, are you doing enough to

prevent dehydration?

The thirst sensation is triggered by our “thirst center” located in the hypothalamus of the brain. It is commonly believed that once the thirst sensation begins, it is a warning for pending dehydration and a trigger to drink water. In reality however, it is actually triggered by dehydration. You see, the hypothalamus (specifically the periventricular nucleus) is responsible for gathering information from the body such as dry mouth, low saliva, increased osmolarity (concentration) of the blood and decreased blood pressure from decreased blood volume (since blood is largely made of water). In addition, exercise may suppress the thirst mechanism.

So why does it matter if we get dehydrated? Water is the largest component in the body. On average, it comprises 60% of total body mass in an adult. It is an essential component of all fluids in our body (lymph, blood, synovial fluid, cerebrospinal fluid) and is in and between every cell.  It is needed for digestion, lubrication of joints, removal of toxins from our body, it permits respiration, and is vital to delivery of oxygen to tissues.

When we exercise, the demands on the body change and our need for water increases. It is recommended to:

  1. · Drink 2 cups approximately 1-2 hours prior to exercise to properly hydrate the tissues
  2. · Drink 1.5 cups every 20 minutes during your exercise
  3. · Drink 3 cups for every pound lost after you exercise to rehydrate adequately.
  4. · Make sure you drink on a schedule
  5. · Bring a water bottle with you when you exercise.

As with anything, it is possible to get too much of a good thing. Although rate, water intoxication is a very serious medical problem. You would need to over consume a vast amount to be affected and it has been shown that exceeding water intake each day is far safer than under hydrating chronically. If you have a pre-existing medical condition, especially with your heart or kidneys, always seek the guidance of a medical professional before making large changes to your fluid intake.

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