Whether it’s mowing the lawn, working in the garden or washing the car, we spend a lot of time outdoors in the summer months. When you're outside in the heat, it’s important to drink plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration. We need fluids to keep our bodies properly cooled. Without ample water, you can experience muscle cramping, heat exhaustion, or heat stroke.
How do you know how much fluid you need?
Children need from 4 to 11 cups of total water (total beverages, including water) a day. Adults need from 9 to 13 cups of total water (total beverages, including water) a day. The amount depends on your age, gender, level of physical activity, altitude and climate. During hot weather, you will need more, but don’t go by thirst alone. To prevent dehydration it’s important to drink plenty of water and other fluids throughout the day, even before going outdoors. One way to tell if you are drinking enough fluids is to check the color of your urine. Your urine should be light yellow in color. If it is a dark color, you need to drink more.
Will fluids other than water work?
Juice, tea, sports drinks and soft drinks are mostly water. However, you are often consuming calories unnecessarily without nutritional benefits. Eat your calories rather than drink your calories. It will help you prevent unwanted weight gain. Make water your number one beverage of choice.
Enjoy the summer months! But take breaks and drink plenty of water.
Institute of Medicine of the National Academies. Dietary Reference Intakes: The Essential Guide to Nutrient Requirements. The National Academies Press, Washington DC. 2006.