Summertime in Texas brings thoughts of boating at the lake, outdoor cookouts, kids at summer camps and baseball. It’s true; “summertime” is an “active time”. Summer brings another friend all Texans are familiar with, heat. The average temperature in Dallas during the last few years is around 96 degrees Fahrenheit. That is HOT and our bodies are forced to respond to this heat by sweating. This mode of sweating releases fluids from the body through small glands to help regulate our temperature. If we were unable to sweat during extreme heat we would die. I get asked a few questions about dehydration a lot by different people.
1. Q: “What are signs of dehydration?”
A: Major dehydration can result in dry mouth, tiredness, dark urine, lethargy, coma and even death. Many experienced Texans have been taught some of the major symptoms, but what about some of the not so severe symptoms of dehydration and chronic dehydration? Examples include
• Chronic Fatigue
• A Slow Metabolism
• Excessive Food Cravings – Most people misinterpret mild dehydration with hunger and choose to eat rather than Re-Hydrate!
2. Q: “How much water should I drink a day?”
A: One safe and general guideline is to drink ½ of your bodyweight in ounces (ozs) every day. So, if you weigh 140 lbs you should drink 70 ozs of water spread throughout the day. This is for a normal day without any exercise. If you do outdoor work or exercise, you will need to consume more water to make up for the fluid loss. So BUY A WATER CONTAINER that you can measure every ounce you drink! Drinks like caffeine (coffee and tea) result in loss of more water in urine, so you must drink more to make up for these drinks (ie: the water in these drinks count as negative water intake!)
3. Q: “What is the best way to hydrate myself Gatorade or PowerAde?”
A: Neither! Water is the BEST WAY POSSIBLE to hydrate you before, during and after activity. There are activities that require liquids with “extra ingredients”, such as electrolytes and simple carbohydrates. However, most sport activities that require these drinks require exercise for several consecutive hours such as marathons, triathlons or other events lasting over 3 hours. Exercise for 1-3 hours only requires good cold H2O! (Did you know that cold water helps rehydrate faster because it empties from the stomach faster than warm water? Warm water helps people feel full longer because it keeps the stomach expanded longer helping to suppress appetite.) In depth discussions about athlete sports drinks and their necessity are a topic that warrants more space than I have here today.
This is not an all-inclusive article of dehydration and does not intend to diagnose or treat you. If you have concerns about dehydration in you or your family consult a primary care or chiropractic doctor.
By Clint Dacus DC at True Balance Chiropractic & Physical Therapy