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Sunday, March 18, 2018
Article written by Michelle Hancock

Water Wise

Before heading off for a day at the beach this summer, it’s worth making sure you’ve packed all the essentials. Beach towel–check; sunscreen–check; snacks–check; a magazine–check. But wait; aren’t you forgetting the most important item of all? Water.

Your blood is made up of 92 percent water, the brain and muscles consist of 75 percent water, and your bones consist of 22 percent. This simple liquid is essential for healthy breathing, absorbing nutrients, oxygenating cells, protecting organs, metabolizing food, cushioning joints, and eliminating waste.

Of course, our water needs change with the seasons. Particularly in summer, when people spend more time in the sun, dehydration becomes a threat. Children, athletes and exercisers, outdoor workers, and the elderly are most susceptible to this danger. By following some basic hydration tips, there’s no reason you can’t enjoy a safe, sunny season.

H 2 0 on the Go

Schedule regular drink breaks throughout the day–mid morning, at mealtimes, mid afternoon, and before bed. Keep a portable water bottle or container at your desk and in your purse, gym bag, briefcase, and car. Most health experts recommend eight one-cup (250-mL) glasses of water daily, but this increases with weight and physical activity level. Check out the hydration calculator at bottledwater.org to determine your specific needs.

Moderate Diuretics

Alcoholic and caffeinated beverages such as beer, wine, coffee, tea, and cola are diuretics that dehydrate the body. Pair each caffeinated or alcoholic drink with a glass of water.

Exercise Wisely

The body requires 10 to 14 days of working or exercising in the heat to adjust, so resist the desire to launch into warrior-mode come good weather. At first, cut down on the intensity of physical activities. Exercise also boosts your water requirements. In addition to your regular water habits, drink before, during (every 15 minutes), and after being active.

Check Your Child

Did you know active kids lose at least eight cups (2 L) of water daily and are more at risk of dehydration because they must often be reminded to drink? When outdoors or active, children should sip water every 15 to 20 minutes.

Recognize the Signs

By the time you’re thirsty, you are already dehydrated and have lost at least two cups of your total body composition. Guzzle greatly–in fact, drink beyond your thirst because the thirst mechanism shuts off before your body’s needs are filled. Other signs of dehydration include lightheadedness, fatigue, dry lips and tongue, headache, muscle cramps, nausea, and darker-than-normal urine.

Is that water bottle packed then? Now let the summer begin!
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