It’s getting warmer and there are so many things to do out here in the great Pacific Northwest. From hiking to boating, mountain biking, swimming and other outdoor activities its easy to find something to enjoy the fish air and sun. With that you also need to be aware of two particular danger: dehydration and heat stroke.
When we are out in the sun and increase our movement and exercise levels, it’s easy to get dehydrated,. By not drinking enough water, we do not provide our bodies with the essential minerals and hydration it needs to stay healthy. Additionally we do not help ourselves when we add sugary drinks, caffeinated beverages and even alcohol. All of these rob our bodies and deplete our water reserves. Even a 2% reduction in hydration in our bodies can lead to confusion, fatigue and mood changes such as increased irritability or depression. Our bodies actually use water to do a multitude of important functions such as: digesting food, removal of waste, carrying nutrients and oxygen to every cell in the body, cool the body, lubricate joints and tissues and maintain healthy skin. Suffice it to say, water and hydration is an extremely big deal.
Unless you are a fluid restriction, possibly due to kidney failure, you should drink anywhere between 9-13 cups of water a day or 72-104 ounces. Some people use the rule of half your body weight in ounces to keep up their water intake. Whichever you choose, it’s important to get water into your body. Additionally, it is important to increase your intake as you get more active. With more activity, especially when outdoors, you will sweat more, depleting your body of water. Ensure you are drinking water during the exercise/activity and are also eating fruits and vegetables since these food are mainly made up of water.
IF the idea of drinking that much water seems daunting or just unappetizing (Dad!), maybe do what we do here at Willow Grove: add some cucumbers and lemon or some strawberries and other berries to give a slight flavor to the water without adding synthetic sugars to our diets. Our hydration program allows for the residents to get the optimal amount of water and thus reduces the chances of heat stroke, dehydration and even UTI’s. The great thing is that the residents enjoy it and are healthier and able to enjoy the outdoor activities without worry. By doing so, they have the opportunity to participate in our gardens, whether vegetable or flowers gardens, spend time walking the pathways and using our back yard area for picnics or visits from loved ones.
So as the heat turns up and you get out and enjoying, turn on your tap and get the water flowing. Your body will be thankful and you will have great memories to remember in future years of being active with your spouse, your kids and even grandkids. Until next month, be blessed and full of life!