By Courtney Brein, Linda Golodner Food Safety and Nutrition Fellow
Come rain, shine, snow, or sleet, the human body will require water. While it is important not to neglect one’s liquid diet throughout the year, during the summer months staying hydrated often requires additional effort. The body more easily becomes dehydrated – meaning it loses more fluids than it takes in – in warm weather, and, without adequate fluids, it cannot carry out its normal functions.
To complicate matters, by the time individuals feel “thirsty,” they are often already slightly dehydrated. This problem is exacerbated in older adults, whose bodies less readily sense dehydration.
How can one prevent dehydration? Drink up! All liquids “count” when it comes to hydrating the body, although – for health reasons – sugary drinks should only be consumed occasionally. Eating fruits and vegetables also helps provide the body with the liquid it needs.
Doctors generally recommend that individuals drink approximately eight or nine cups of fluid per day, but check with your physician or consult this calculator to more precisely determine your unique needs.
Exercise (or any other activity that causes sweating) requires additional consumption of liquids. Make an effort to hydrate before, during, and after exercise, in order to replace lost fluids.