I love Philadelphia summers. I especially love our incredible street festivals, charitable walks and runs, and just exercising outdoors in our gorgeous green spaces.
However, in recent years, I noticed something peculiar during the summer: an increasing number of people seem to be passing out.
I couldn’t help but think that maybe many people are coming out for summer fun, walks, and exercise, without proper hydration. Did you know that losing just 2 percent of your normal hydration levels could put your body in a tailspin?
Water is the one nutrient we can’t survive without for more than a few days. So, if you’ve been skimping on your water consumption, here are a few do’s and don’ts on staying properly hydrated in the summer.
For most people, the biggest telltale sign of proper hydration is the color of your urine. If your urine is clear, you are over-hydrated and can cut back. If your urine is the color of lemonade, you’re in the optimal range, but if it’s looking like apple juice or darker, you are getting or are dehydrated.
Mild dehydration is nothing to play with: It will make you feel extremely tired, may give you a headache, can cause confusion, difficulty concentrating, and negatively change your mood. To possibly avoid mild dehydration, drink plenty of cool refreshing water, especially on those hot summer days.
While hydration levels vary from person to person, you should still stick with the minimum recommended eight cups of water a day, but you probably need a little more in summer. Naturally, if you’re an athlete, you may have much higher needs, especially if you’re exercising outdoors in hot and humid weather. If you’re a super fitness fanatic, you’ll likely need even more.
Although caffeinated beverages do not cause dehydration, caffeinated beverages do have a diuretic effect, which increases the amount of urine you produce and excrete. Just in case, you may want to cut back or stay away from caffeine in the summer.
Sorry, that delicious pina colada, ice cold beer, and white wine are all dehydrating, and it’s especially true in hot and humid summer conditions. I know it sucks but alcohol and the summer sun combination can be dangerous, and even deadly. It’s a no-brainer, right? Alcohol is dehydrating, and the sun causes you to sweat. Heat stroke is another potential risk, when combining the hot summer sun with alcohol. Heat strokes can be extremely dangerous and can potentially lead to shock or even organ failure.