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Health: Hot Weather Workouts

Dehydration can occur without you even knowing it! Stay hydrated, especially in the summer heat.

This summer is shaping up to be a hot one! Getting outdoors during the nice weather to stay active is something many of us try to take advantage of.  With the summer heat beating down on us, it's really important to make sure you stay hydrated and pace yourself.

Our bodies are over two-thirds water. Which means, if we do not supply a constant source of water to our bodies, then transporting all the nutrients, hormones and even wastes through our bodies becomes very difficult.  Dehydration can occur without you even knowing it! For instance, if you feel thirsty, you are already on your way to being dehydrated.  So, it’s important to avoid dehydration - an often-overlooked aspect of disease. As Dr. Fereydoon Batmanghelidj says in his book, Your Body’s Many Cries for Water,  “You’re not sick, you’re thirsty!” Most of us are in a constant state of dehydration and we don’t even know it!

Here are some potentially surprising things you need to know about staying hydrated. Keep them in mind as the temperature rises.

*Thirst pains are real. Yes, we have hunger pains, but did you know that we also have thirst pains? Often, we can’t rely on a dry mouth to tell us that we need a little more H2O. Chronic joint pain, headaches and gastric ulcers can often spell d-e-h-y-d-r-a-t-i-o-n. Water is needed to carry acidic waste away from cells, and when we’re dehydrated, these wastes don’t get carried away, leading to our nerves interpreting the acidic waste as pain.

**If you’re tired, it may be dehydration. One study conducted by Loughborough University found that a mere 5% drop in water levels in the body can cause a 25-30% loss in energy. Even a 3% drop can cause fuzzy thinking, “brain fog” and a slower metabolism. Another study conducted by University of Connecticut’s Human Performance Laboratory found that even a 1.5% water loss led to reduced cognitive function, headaches and fatigue in 25 women and 26 men.

***Allergies and asthma can be linked to dehydration. Dr. Batmanghelidj found that when the body is dehydrated, histamine begins to ration water, which in turn increases histamine and the allergic response and lowered immunity. Chronic dehydration triggers a histamine release in asthma sufferers, which leads to inflammation and bronchial constriction.

So how much water does a person need per day? It’s an individual thing, as water requirements vary from person to person. The amount of water we need depends on a number of factors, including our size, activity level, stress level, the climate or temperature and our diet. A good basic rule of thumb is to take your body weight (in pounds) and divide it by 2. This is the number of ounces of water that you should be drinking each day. For example, if you weigh 150 pounds, you will need 75 ounces of water per day. Divide this by 8 to get the number of 8-ounce glasses you should be drinking.