Hydration and Nutrition Tips for the Heat

water

Summer is finally here and the days are starting to heat up. During these hot days, it can be harder to stay hydrated. The human body is made up of up to 60% water, which means that as you sweat and as your muscles work hard, you have to drink more fluids to stay hydrated. If you lose too much water, you are at a higher risk of heat-related issues. No one wants that! Here are a few hydration and nutrition tips for the heat: 


Check in with yourself

When you are exercising in the heat, periodically check in with yourself to see how you are feeling. Do you feel more fatigued than usual? Are you dizzy? Of course, you don’t want to wait until you are feeling dehydrated to make a change, so make self-awareness part of your routine. Once you know how you are feeling, you can adjust accordingly. 

 
Drink water before you feel thirsty
If you are thirsty, you are often already dehydrated. Drink water regularly to avoid this. Set an alarm if you need the reminder. And make sure you are drinking the right amount of water for your weight and exercise level. Check with your doctor on how much water you should be drinking, especially if you are highly active. Then, keep track of how much water you are drinking and see if you are on track. 


Eat fruits and vegetables with high levels of water
Summer produce like watermelons, grapes, strawberries, peaches, oranges, lettuce, and zucchini, all have high levels of water. They are also packed with vital nutrients for your body, like vitamin C, magnesium, potassium, and fiber, depending on the fruit or vegetable. Many fruits and vegetables also have high levels of electrolytes, which help replace fluid losses in the body. Pack your workout bag with a few pieces of fruit to snack on before and after your session. 


Supplement with electrolytes
Electrolytes are essential for our body. They regulate fluid levels in our body, help blood to clot, and make sure the pH in the blood stays at the correct level, among other things. If you lose too much fluid and don’t rehydrate, your electrolytes can’t do their job and you will fatigue quicker. If you will be exercising for more than an hour, it is a good idea to supplement your water with electrolytes. You can eat food with electrolytes, like oranges and bananas, or drink something high in electrolytes, like a sports drink or coconut water. 


Limit alcohol and caffeine 
This may be an unpopular one but it is absolutely essential for keeping hydrated in the summer heat. Alcohol and caffeine both dehydrate the body, and can cause you to feel tired sooner. Try to limit your intake of alcohol the night before you plan to exercise, and limit your caffeine intake too. A cup of coffee in the morning might be fine, but try to resist reaching for a second or third cup. The body needs nutrients to stay hydrated and work efficiently, so the more you can switch out alcohol and caffeine for other alternatives, the better you will feel. 

 

If, at any time during your workout, you begin to feel signs of a heat-related issue, stop what you are doing, sit down, and assess yourself. Heat-related issues can come on suddenly, but you can prevent this by taking your hydration and nutrition needs seriously. And on days when it is too hot and the sun is beating down on you, switch to an indoor workout if possible. If you feel like you need more hydration than you can get with water, and are local to the Birmingham area, you could also consider Intravenous hydration therapy at a place like Holistic Hydration in Vestavia Hills. 

What do you do to stay hydrated in the heat? Let me know if the comments! 

Sarah Orner