July—Tip of the Month
As Canadians, we can’t help but love a bit of fun in the sun! But when you are soaking up those rays, do you remember to stay hydrated? Think of your body like your favourite plant: When left too long without water—particularly in direct sunlight—it will start to get dry and wilt. Our bodies are no different than that thirsty plant. They need proper fluid intake to feel energized and healthy.
Drinking lots of water can help you avoid (un)fun sun complications like heat stroke or dehydration. The right amount of fluids helps us regulate our body temperature, aids digestion, and cushions organs and joints by keeping them lubricated. Since our bodies lose water by sweating (and even breathing!) we are especially at risk of dehydration in the hot summer months.
Fortunately, there are many ways to give our bodies the necessary fluids during the summer. Try simple tricks like drinking a glass of water when you wake up each morning, before you go to bed at night, or before eating your meals. (Or try all three!) And keep a fresh glass of water by your desk or near your workstation to remind yourself to drink throughout the day. Be sure to carry a bottle of water with you wherever you go—particularly on very hot days, if you will be playing outdoor sports, or if you plan to be outside for an extended period of time. Water bottles come in all kinds of convenient shapes and sizes—great for strapping on your bike, throwing in your bag, or clipping to your belt!
Remember that water is not the only way to stay hydrated! Sports drinks (requires Adobe Reader) have been gaining popularity as the go-to hydration product for athletes and active people. These drinks are most effective when you are exercising in hot or humid conditions (and sweating a lot!) as they are designed to replace the electrolytes we lose when we perspire. Take care to choose drinks with lower sugar content to better quench your thirst. Coconut water is yet another way to keep hydrated, but be sure to watch for—and avoid—sugary versions with high levels of potassium. Foods that are high in sugar or salt will only make you thirstier, so try not to bring them to your next picnic. And alcoholic beverages are famous for their dehydrating effects, so be sure to compensate for that beer on the patio with a glass of water or two.
Taking a dip in a pool or lake can help cool down your body—but don’t forget to keep some water nearby for sipping in between laps! Because your body is wet from swimming, you might not notice you are sweating or realize you are dehydrated.
The most important thing? Never ignore your thirst. If you are feeling a bit parched, take in some liquids as soon as possible. Staying hydrated is an easy way to make sure you don’t miss out on any of that much-anticipated summer fun!
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