Many of us spend our summer soaking up the sun. Kids are out of school, outdoor sports are plenty, and people are enjoying warm weather activities. However, spending a lot of time outside in the elements puts you at risk for dehydration-related concerns.
While most people know that water is critical for your health, what you may not know is that water makes up about 55 to 65 percent of your body.
Many may be surprised to know that losing only four percent of your body weight -- roughly the equivalent of riding a bike for three hours in extreme heat without rehydrating -- may cause you to faint.
The following simple tips from Dr. Ralph Holsworth, a board-certified family medicine physician and head of clinical and scientific research for Essentia Water, will help you stay well hydrated this summer:
* Sip with purpose; don't chug. -- When you drink too much water at once, it passes through your system too quickly, failing to go to the kidneys. This can lead to dehydration despite the amount of water you may be drinking.
Drinking too much water can also cause cramping, as well as bloating and stomach pains, due to loss of electrolytes. Aim to take a sip of water every 15-20 minutes when you're playing sports or when it's hot outside and you should be right on track.
* Aim to drink 3 liters a day. -- The age-old 8-glasses-a-day rule doesn't always suffice in the hot summer months.
People should try to drink 12 glasses a day, especially if they are planning on working out, playing sports or spending excessive amounts of time in the sun. A good trick to know if you're drinking enough water is to keep your urine the color of straw (or transparent yellow).
* Bring water with you. -- Spending more time out of the house often means less easy access to water. When you leave for a day at the beach, make sure you throw enough bottles of water in your beach bag to last throughout the day. Keeping a case of water in your car is another way to ensure you'll always have water on hand.
* Limit sun exposure. -- Not shielding yourself properly in the sun causes you to sweat more, which can lead to quicker dehydration. Wearing cotton clothes that are breathable in the heat and a hat that covers your ears will help protect you from potentially dangerous health issues such as heat exhaustion.
Whether you're an athlete, a weekend warrior or just want to take better care of yourself, staying hydrated is essential to a healthy body, especially during the hot summer months. John Ross III2, wide receiver for the Cincinnati Bengals, knows a thing or two about the importance of staying hydrated, especially during the summer heat.
"I push my body to the max every day and sometimes it can get into the 90s during practice," says the recent first-round pick in this year's NFL draft.
"If I'm planning to exercise outside in the heat, I always prioritize two things -- sleep and staying hydrated. I always get at least 8 hours of sleep and always have a bottle of water by my side."