Here are simple ways to care for yourself by replacing lost fluids
Are you drinking enough water? It’s about more than quenching a thirst. Replacing lost fluids is essential to lots of bodily functions—and brain functions! Many people find it challenging to drink enough water, especially in the summer when you risk losing more water due to the heat. Some find it easy to remember to drink during or after exercise, but your body is losing water all the time—even just by breathing and sweating!
We’ve got some suggestions for you on how to stay well-hydrated this summer:
- Drink before you feel thirsty
Mild thirst is one of the first signs that your body is sensing dehydration. Make drinking water a habit and keep a filled water-bottle at your side, so you can get into the habit of taking sips throughout the day.
- Drink more in the hours leading up to exercise
Don’t wait until right before you work out to hydrate. A belly full of water can be uncomfortable when you exercise. (And, if you suddenly drink too much all at once, it can lead to over-hydration.) Instead, drink steadily throughout the day, so there’s no need to overdo it before you exercise. If you like to get up and work out first thing in the morning, then go to bed well hydrated the night before.
- Keep water with you during exercise
Stay hydrated while you exercise by taking small sips. Whether you’re drinking water, juice, or sports drinks, don’t wait until you’re really thirsty to down the whole bottle.
- Try the pinch test
It’s not fool-proof, but a quick check for your hydration level is a test you can do on the back of your hand. Using your thumb and first finger, pinch and hold the skin for a few seconds, then release. If your skin is well-hydrated, it should spring back to normal quickly. If not, go fill up that water bottle!
- Eat more fruits and vegetables
You can help keep yourself well-hydrated with water-dense fruits and vegetables, like cucumber, celery, broccoli, strawberries, watermelon, and cantaloupe.
- Enjoy what you drink
If you don’t like water—and many don’t—then try other healthy options (without added sweeteners or artificial flavorings). Try adding fruit to your water, or other natural ingredients such as cucumber, ginger, or mint. Cut down on the sugar by adding seltzer water to a little fruit juice. Tea is also hydrating (unsweetened is best) and coconut water is a popular alternative among athletes. In the winter time, a warm clear broth can be both nourishing and hydrating.
Feeling dizzy, faint, or you have a headache? It could be that you’re experiencing dehydration. If this happens during exercise, make sure to stop, take a few sips of a drink before continuing. Dehydration can affect your mood and make you feel tired, slow, and irritable. So pay attention to what your body needs, especially in the hottest months of the summer! It’s a fundamental part of self care.
This post is part of the weekly blog of Seacoast Career Schools, with campuses in Manchester, NH, and Sanford, ME. We’re committed to supporting our students in taking steps towards a new career. Interested in a professional training program? Contact us today to learn more, or to schedule a tour.