We may be stuck in the Dog Days from July 3 to August 11, but the grass still needs mowing, the garden needs weeding, and then there’s outdoor activities like swimming, fishing, and cookouts that always come with Summer vacation. Fortunately, you can make sure you and your family cope with the heat and keep your health.
The most essential thing you can do is drink water. You need at least the amount you lose through sweating, urination, and digestion. So if you exercise or spend much time outdoors in the heat, you’ll need to drink extra. Here’s a good way to determine the minimum amount your body needs to replenish what it uses in a day. Take your weight in pounds, and divide that by half to determine the number of ounces. Divide the ounces by 8 and you have the number of cups. This is what the formula would look like for your average 150lb person.
150 lb./2 = 75 oz. 75 oz./8 oz. = 9.4 cups
That means a 150 lb. person needs around 9 or 10 cups of water a day, or about 2 to 2.5 liters, simply to provide for organ function and digestion. When you sweat more than normal, you need around 8 ounces, or 1 cup, for every 15 minutes in addition to your usual water intake. In other words, that 150 lb. person needs 3 liters of water per day if they spend about an hour perspiring. If this amount sounds daunting to you, remember you can add mint leaves and slices of lemon, lime, cucumber, or strawberries to your water to make it more appealing.
More isn’t necessarily better if you overdo it when it comes to water, though; you can have too much and flush out electrolytes your body needs. These same electrolytes can be depleted if you sweat a lot, so it’s a good idea to know how to replace them the same as you would water. Natural salt, such as Himalayan salt or sea salt, that has not had all the minerals processed out of it like table salt has can be a source of electrolytes when used in appropriate amounts, 1/4 tsp. or less for a gallon. Cell salts supplements like Hyland’s Bioplasma can be dissolved under the tongue or in water before or after workouts for convenience. Another natural source of electrolytes is coconut water. It’s electrolyte balance is similar to our body’s fluids and it contains carbohydrates for energy too. You can use it diluted in water or drink it alone, depending on preference.
Please keep in mind that all drinks are not equally hydrating. Caffeine, sugar, dyes, preservatives, and other ingredients that have to be filtered out and digested will only cause your body to have to work harder and need more water in the end. If you really hate water, iced herbal teas such as chamomile or peppermint, or fruit infused waters may help you transition to drinking more water.
It all really comes down to the fact that you have to choose health for yourself and keep making that choice. We think you’re worth it, and so should you.