Living Well

Beat the heat and hydrate!

Christina Maise, Mastered Exercise Specialist
Beat the heat and hydrate!

Everyone, especially the elderly and very young, need to know how to limit the potentially deadly effects of high temperatures during Louisiana summers and how to hydrate properly. Dehydration can begin with just a few hours of extreme heat, so drinking extra fluids is very important. Drinking the correct amount of water helps regulate your body temperature, lubricates your joints, and moves nutrients through your body to give you energy and keep you healthy!

The advice to “drink more water” sounds simple enough, right? In reality though, you may find it can be surprisingly challenging to increase the amount you drink. So how much fluid does the average adult really need during the summer?

About 15.5 cups (3.7 Liters) for Men

About 11.5 cups (2.7 Liters) for Women

You might need to modify your total intake based on several factors:

Exercise- If you do any activity that makes you sweat, you need to drink extra water to cover the fluid loss. It's important to drink water before, during and after a workout. If exercise is intense and lasts more than an hour, a sports drink can replace minerals in your blood and electrolytes lost through sweat.

Environment - Hot or humid weather can make you sweat and requires additional fluid intake.

Overall Health - Your body loses fluids when you have a fever, vomiting or diarrhea. You should drink more water or follow a doctor's recommendation to drink oral rehydration solutions. Other conditions that might require increased fluid intake include bladder infections and urinary tract stones.

Pregnancy or Breast Feeding - Women who are pregnant or breast-feeding need additional fluids to stay hydrated. In fact, the American Pregnancy Association says if you’re pregnant, you should be drinking anywhere from 8 to 12 glasses of water a day.

RELATED: What is dehydration?

Know the warning signs of dehydration. Early signs are:

  • Extreme thirst
  • Dry mouth
  • Less frequent urination
  • Dark-colored urine
  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Confusion

In most cases, you can treat dehydration by simply drinking more water. Make an appointment with your primary care doctor if you think your dehydration may be due to an illness or a medication, and if you're experiencing symptoms of severe dehydration, get urgent medical help. Severe dehydration symptoms may include:

  • Stomach cramping
  • Fainting or seizures
  • Low blood pressure
  • Heatstroke
  • Delirium or hallucinations
 

About Christina Maise:

Christina is the Wellness Manger at West Jefferson Fitness Centers, where she has been employed for the last 15 years.

She has a Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology and a Masters of Education in Health. In her free time she enjoys distance running and all things health and fitness.

To find out about West Jefferson Fitness Center memberships, or to schedule a tour, call 504.349.6164.