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The Lake News Online
  • Wellness column: Stay hydrated during the summer months

  • Whether it’s mowing the lawn, working in the garden, washing the cars, being out on the lake or pool, playing sports, or planting flowers, we spend a lot of time outdoors in the summer months. It’s important to keep our bodies healthy to prevent any conditions related to the heat, including proper hydration.
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  • Whether it’s mowing the lawn, working in the garden, washing the cars, being out on the lake or pool, playing sports, or planting flowers, we spend a lot of time outdoors in the summer months. It’s important to keep our bodies healthy to prevent any conditions related to the heat, including proper hydration.
    Water composes over half of the body and helps maintain the temperature of the body, helps with digestion, helps with nutrient transport, and is the biggest component of muscle tissue. When the body is dehydrated, it is unable to cool itself effectively and the muscles may start cramping. Heat exhaustion and even heat stroke can occur when the body isn’t cooling itself properly.
    How much water do we really need to be drinking each day? We have always heard 8 cups, but there isn’t much research behind that claim. The adequate intake of water for men is 3.7 Liters/day and for women is 2.7 Liters/day. This equals 125 oz or almost 16 cups for men and 90 oz or just over 11 cups for women. This may seem like a large amount but would include water from all of the foods and beverages that we consume throughout the day.
    To prevent dehydration, it’s important to drink plenty of water throughout the day, even before and after you are outdoors. Your urine color should be light yellow in color, unless you are taking a vitamin, which may cause a change in color for a few hours. Juice, tea, fruits, and vegetables can also help provide the body with water, but drinking plain water is crucial as well. Watermelon, cantaloupe, strawberries, grapefruit, cucumbers, iceberg lettuce, celery, tomatoes, zucchini, radishes, and green cabbage are the fruits and vegetables with the highest water content.
    Water is the best choice to stay hydrated. If you sweat profusely or spend an extended amount of time outdoors, a sports drink such as Gatorade or Powerade may be necessary to replenish electrolytes such as sodium. Sodium helps the body rehydrate, whether it is from a sports drink or a food source eaten at the same time. Water is a good choice for normal activities, such as playing a baseball game or working in the yard for a short time. But a sports drink may be needed if the activities are longer or more intense, such as several sporting events in a row or working in the yard on a very hot day. An excess amount of sports drinks can add extra sugar and extra calories, so it is important to limit these to only when necessary.
    If you weigh yourself before and after activity, this can be helpful in knowing how much water you need to rehydrated afterwards. For every pound of weight lost, you need to drink 16 to 24 fluid ounces.
    Page 2 of 2 - If you have questions or ideas for future articles, please contact Melissa Bess, Nutrition and Health Education Specialist with University of Missouri Extension. Call the Camden County Extension Center at 346-2644 or email Melissa at bessmm@missouri.edu.
     
    Melissa Bess is a health and wellness expert with the University of Missouri Extension. She is also the author of a health and wellness blog at www.LakeNewsOnline.com.

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