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Easy, Clever Ways to Prevent Dehydration

Easy, Clever Ways to Prevent Dehydration

    According to my local weather forecast, today’s highs will top 95 degrees. For my little corner of New England, that’s brutally hot (and rather early in the year for such high temps, all things considered.) Factoring in the humidity, I can assure you that I will be hot, cross, and concerned about staying hydrated all day today.

    Which brings me to the main point of today’s post: how to stay hydrated during the hottest months of the year.

    Staying properly hydrated ensures that all of your bodily functions are…well…functioning. You can only go three days or so without water, and as your body loses its hydration, you will experience all kinds of awful side effects. Dehydration can cause irritability, lethargy, dangerously low blood pressure, rapid heart rate, headaches, shock, and even death.

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    The average adult can usually maintain proper levels of hydration by drinking enough water. That being said, extreme heat or exertion can be draining on even a healthy adult. Kids and senior citizens are more susceptible to extreme dehydration than the average adult…so if you have kids or older adults in your life that are important to you, the tips outlined below can be especially important for them (and for you!)

    1. Pick the right water.

    As a general rule, I try to avoid hydrating beverages that have added sugar. In addition to having fewer calories, I think it’s also important to choose hydrating beverages that don’t have sugar in order to prevent spikes in insulin levels. Going into a sugar crash compounded with the already-unpleasant sensation of dehydration? Count me out. Plus, if you happen to be sick with diarrhea during a hot summer day, sugary beverages can actually worsen your symptoms.

    I’m a fan of electrolyte-enhanced waters: SmartWater and Metroelectro are my go-to brands, but there are many options out there. I also really dig flavored waters such as Hint Water (which is all-natural and has zero calories) and Ayala’s Herbal Water. The waters from Ayala are USDA Organic, and come in unique flavor combinations like Lemongrass Mint Vanilla, Lavender Mint, and Lemon Verbena Geranium. If you hate the taste of plain water, these all-natural, zero cal waters are a smart choice (and taste so good you’ll actually WANT to drink them.)

    2. Snack on the right foods

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    Fresh veggies and fruits are good snacks this time of year, and not just for dieters. Fresh produce has a very high water content, so it’s a great way to hydrate without having to drink a ton of water. For example, an apple is up to 85% of water by volume.

    Pickles (and pickle juice) are higher in electrolytes than beverages like Gatorade or Powerade, and have been shown to reduce cramping cause by exertion in high temperatures. The acetic acid in pickles and pickle juice are considered superior to the citric acid found in commercial sports drinks, at least when it comes to rehydration properties.

    Another food you should add into your diet when staying properly hydrated is a concern are chia seeds. In addition to being high in protein, the seeds themselves help you to retain water by absorbing many times their own weight in water. If you can’t find the actual seeds, you may be able to find a chia seed gel at runner’s/sporting good stores or health food stores.

    3. Drink constantly, not occasionally.

    You should be constantly drinking fluids, rather than guzzling multiple liters of water all at once.

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    Let me put it this way: when you go to the hospital and get an IV drip, it’s a DRIP… meaning that you get a slow but steady introduction of fluids. You never see anyone getting an IV drip at the speed of a gushing fire hose.

    It is better to have frequent, small amounts of fluid…especially if the dehydration is severe. Too much fluids at once can induce stomach upset or vomiting.

    The amount of water you need in a given day depends on the environment, your activity level, and what other food and drink you have consumed. That being said, work towards drinking 2-3 liters of water per day.

    Break up that amount of water into a cup or so every hour, and you’ll have a good, healthy intake of water. Drinking too much water in a very short period of time can put too much strain on your eliminatory processes, so finding the right balance is important.

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    4. Avoid diuretic behaviors.

    By which I mean, don’t do anything that you know will dehydrate you. In addition to exercise, also watch out for alcohol and caffeine. You might feel groggy when you get to the office… avoid your usual cup of coffee and go for a large glass of water. You might be surprised at how much more effectively the water perks you up.

    5. Make it easy on yourself.

    It’s hard to stay hydrated when you don’t have water nearby. Keep a couple bottles of water in the fridge at work, or in the trunk of your car (you never know when you’ll be stranded somewhere in hot weather.) Pick up a small sports bottle that will fit in your purse or briefcase, and you’ll always have water close at hand. When the water is close to you, you’ll actually remember to drink it. (And don’t be afraid to set an alarm on your watch or phone every 30 minutes to remind you to drink!)

    Closing Thoughts

    The Dos Equis spokesman, “The Most Interesting Man in the World,” has a catchphrase: “Stay thirsty, my friends.”

    Friends of Stepcase Lifehack, we hope that you’ll ignore his advice, and stay hydrated instead.

    How do you stay hydrated in the summer? Tell us in the comments below!

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    Tucker Cummings

    Writer and social media professional sharing productivity tips on Lifehack.

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    Last Updated on September 18, 2020

    7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

    7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

    Learning how to get in shape and set goals is important if you’re looking to live a healthier lifestyle and get closer to your goal weight. While this does require changes to your daily routine, you’ll find that you are able to look and feel better in only two weeks.

    Over the years, I’ve learned a lot about what it takes to get in shape. Although anyone can cover the basics (eat right and exercise), there are some things that I could only learn through trial and error. Let’s cover some of the most important points for how to get in shape in two weeks.

    1. Exercise Daily

    It is far easier to make exercise a habit if it is a daily one. If you aren’t exercising at all, I recommend starting by exercising a half hour every day. When you only exercise a couple times per week, it is much easier to turn one day off into three days off, a week off, or a month off.

    If you are already used to exercising, switching to three or four times a week to fit your schedule may be preferable, but it is a lot harder to maintain a workout program you don’t do every day.

    Be careful to not repeat the same exercise routine each day. If you do an intense ab workout one day, try switching it up to general cardio the next. You can also squeeze in a day of light walking to break up the intensity.

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    If you’re a morning person, check out these morning exercises that will start your day off right.

    2. Duration Doesn’t Substitute for Intensity

    Once you get into the habit of regular exercise, where do you go if you still aren’t reaching your goals? Most people will solve the problem by exercising for longer periods of time, turning forty-minute workouts into two hour stretches. Not only does this drain your time, but it doesn’t work particularly well.

    One study shows that “exercising for a whole hour instead of a half does not provide any additional loss in either body weight or fat”[1].

    This is great news for both your schedule and your levels of motivation. You’ll likely find it much easier to exercise for 30 minutes a day instead of an hour. In those 30 minutes, do your best to up the intensity to your appropriate edge to get the most out of the time.

    3. Acknowledge Your Limits

    Many people get frustrated when they plateau in their weight loss or muscle gaining goals as they’re learning how to get in shape. Everyone has an equilibrium and genetic set point where their body wants to remain. This doesn’t mean that you can’t achieve your fitness goals, but don’t be too hard on yourself if you are struggling to lose weight or put on muscle.

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    Acknowledging a set point doesn’t mean giving up, but it does mean realizing the obstacles you face.

    Expect to hit a plateau in your own fitness results[2]. When you expect a plateau, you can manage around it so you can continue your progress at a more realistic rate. When expectations meet reality, you can avoid dietary crashes.

    4. Eat Healthy, Not Just Food That Looks Healthy

    Know what you eat. Don’t fuss over minutia like whether you’re getting enough Omega 3’s or tryptophan, but be aware of the big things. Look at the foods you eat regularly and figure out whether they are healthy or not. Don’t get fooled by the deceptively healthy snacks just pretending to be good for you.

    The basic nutritional advice includes:

    • Eat unprocessed foods
    • Eat more veggies
    • Use meat as a side dish, not a main course
    • Eat whole grains, not refined grains[3]

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    Eat whole grains when you want to learn how to get in shape.

      5. Watch Out for Travel

      Don’t let a four-day holiday interfere with your attempts when you’re learning how to get in shape. I don’t mean that you need to follow your diet and exercise plan without any excursion, but when you are in the first few weeks, still forming habits, be careful that a week long break doesn’t terminate your progress.

      This is also true of schedule changes that leave you suddenly busy or make it difficult to exercise. Have a backup plan so you can be consistent, at least for the first month when you are forming habits.

      If travel is on your schedule and can’t be avoided, make an exercise plan before you go[4], and make sure to pack exercise clothes and an exercise mat as motivation to keep you on track.

      6. Start Slow

      Ever start an exercise plan by running ten miles and then puking your guts out? Maybe you aren’t that extreme, but burnout is common early on when learning how to get in shape. You have a lifetime to be healthy, so don’t try to go from couch potato to athletic superstar in a week.

      If you are starting a running regime, for example, run less than you can to start. Starting strength training? Work with less weight than you could theoretically lift. Increasing intensity and pushing yourself can come later when your body becomes comfortable with regular exercise.

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      7. Be Careful When Choosing a Workout Partner

      Should you have a workout partner? That depends. Workout partners can help you stay motivated and make exercising more fun. But they can also stop you from reaching your goals.

      My suggestion would be to have a workout partner, but when you start to plateau (either in physical ability, weight loss/gain, or overall health) and you haven’t reached your goals, consider mixing things up a bit.

      If you plateau, you may need to make changes to continue improving. In this case it’s important to talk to your workout partner about the changes you want to make, and if they don’t seem motivated to continue, offer a thirty day break where you both try different activities.

      I notice that guys working out together tend to match strength after a brief adjustment phase. Even if both are trying to improve, something seems to stall improvement once they reach a certain point. I found that I was able to lift as much as 30-50% more after taking a short break from my regular workout partner.

      Final Thoughts

      Learning how to get in shape in as little as two weeks sounds daunting, but if you’re motivated and have the time and energy to devote to it, it’s certainly possible.

      Find an exercise routine that works for you, eat healthy, drink lots of water, and watch as the transformation begins.

      More Tips on Getting in Shape

      Featured photo credit: Alexander Redl via unsplash.com

      Reference

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