With the soaring temperatures and the burning sun, water is undoubtedly a magical boon for everybody. But does that mean we guzzle down litres of extra water through the day to prevent the heat from getting to us? The answer is NO! Just like my thumb rule of ‘moderation’ applies to everything else in this world, it even stands true for water. An individuals’ water need not only depends on the weather but it’s also associated to other factors like health and activity.
If you are sedentary and working out of an air-conditioned office, finishing 3-4 liters of water just because it is summer season is useless. Additionally, anyone having a health condition which requires water restriction cannot amplify their water consumption because the temperatures have risen. You need to understand your body’s fluid needs and then estimate how much water to drink each day.
Unfortunately, there is no single formula for rehydration that fits everyone. For sake of understanding your body lets begin with knowing that water is lost through breath, perspiration and urine. Unless you are working in a biochemical lab, it’s very difficult to figure out how much you lose through your breath. However, urine and perspiration loss is much easier to detect. A known fact is that an average urine output for adults is 1.5 liters a day. You lose close to an additional liter of water a day. Food usually accounts for 20 percent of your total fluid intake, so if you consume 2 liters of water or other beverages a day (a little more than 8 cups) along with your normal diet, you can replace the lost fluids. However, depending on the activity you must modify the fluid intake.
The more you exercise, the more fluid you need. An extra 1 or 2 cups of water should suffice for short bouts of exercise, but intense exercise lasting more than an hour (for example, running or a sport) requires additional fluid. How much additional fluid is needed depends on how much you sweat during the exercise. In the summer heat, post exercise weight loss could be more than 1 kg. So weigh yourself before and after your workouts to understand fluid requirements and replacement strategy. 1 kg of weight loss is equivalent of 1 litre of fluid for replenishment. During long bouts of intense exercise or doing work that demands constant exposure to the sun, it’s best to use a sports drink that contains sodium, as this will not only help to rehydrate but also replace sodium lost through perspiration.
Checking your urine colour is also a useful test for understanding dehydration. The darker the urine colour higher is the risk of dehydration. Immediately replenish yourself with fluids to prevent further loss of water. Always target to maintain a neutral urine colour.
Hot or humid weather can make you sweat and requires additional intake of fluid. So keep on replenishing your body with fluids and liquids this summer such as:
Soak up the Sun and Stay Healthy!