Suddenly, everyone is carrying bottles of water, and bottled water is now big business. People have realized that dehydration can be a major danger to health, and this is especially so if you are active in the heat of the day. Dehydration can sneak up on you while you are distracted by a game, your work or while you are relaxing in the sun. You may not feel thirsty, but if you have a dry throat and mouth, have a drink at once. Because those are the first signs of dehydration. Ignore these early signs and they will be followed by decreased urination, a sign that your body is in water conservation mode. This is a serious situation, you need water and you need it quickly.
Water is next only to oxygen in terms of nutrients needed for your body to function properly. Remember, your body is about 60% water. Every day your body loses 10 cups of water through normal functions like breathing, perspiring and digesting food. This water must be replaced or you will become dangerously dehydrated. This is why a person dies of lack of water more much quickly than from lack of food. Alcohol and caffeinated drinks both have a diuretic effect which draws even more water from the body.
On average, an adult needs 8-10, 8 oz glasses of water each day. However, if you are especially active, you will need more. Before being active, drink extra fluids:
Two hours before being very active, drink two, 8 oz glasses of water
One hour before, drink one, 8 oz glass of water
While active, drink an 8 oz glass of water ever 15-20 minutes. Afterwards, drink two 8 oz glasses of water to restore your fluid balance.
Plain, cool water is recommended. You can add a slice of lemon or a little fruit juice for flavor. Other beverages can also be enjoyed, but remember that some of them have other effects:
“Energy drinks” may contain stimulants such as caffeine, or herbs like ginko biloba. Caffeine has a diuretic effect and ginko biloba is a blood thinner. If you are already taking a blood thinner or are on an aspirin regimen, you don’t want to add to the effect.
Sports drinks give a quick energy boost and they are useful for when you are very active in the heat, either working or playing, but bear it in mind that electrolyte loss is not as high as the replacement levels in the sports drinks. So keep the water handy, too, you need both.
Fruit and vegetable juices are healthy choices.
Make caffeine free iced tea.
Mix up a pitcher of Crystal Light or other calorie free or almost calorie free beverage.
You don’t like the flavor of the water coming out of your faucet? It’s a common complaint, but there are solutions. Ask at your local hardware store, check the Yellow Pages, search the Internet. There are water filters, bottled water for sale and pure water delivery companies.
Tired of paying for bottled water and getting your weight-bearing exercise by carting those heavy jugs of water to the car and into the house? Try a water distiller. Check the Internet for this and other models.
Older people and children are especially at risk. They may not feel thirsty, so they do not drink as they should. Children need to be reminded, and older people need to drink regularly whether they feel thirsty or not. Limiting outdoor activity between the hottest hours of the day (10am-3pm) is also helpful.
Children may not want to drink plain water, they may only want sweet, flavored soft drinks. In this case, you will have to be creative. Try fancy cups and convoluted straws and add a fruit slice to the water. Don’t buy sugary, caffeine-laden drinks and set a good example by drinking water yourself. Be sure the water is cool.
Don’t forget your pets, they need fresh water too. Dogs also need a shady place, if you insist on keeping them outside. Be sure the bowl is clean and set in a place where the birds can not use it. Birds carry infections which are harmful to dogs, harmful to you, too, come to think of it.
For your health’s sake, don’t forget to pack the beverages as you head for the beach, the tennis courts, the ballpark or even an expedition to your favorite shopping mall. Take some water to work, especially if you work outdoors. Everyone, men, women and children, needs to keep up his/her fluid balance for good health.
July 20 2012 12:37 pm | Tips to Stay Healthy