Summer Heat Advisory

by Grace Lin

It’s summer time in Houston and that means it’s going to get HOT(ter than it already is).  One of the most important things you can do to stay safe during the summer heat is to stay hydrated.  It is very easy to drink coffee during the work day, but many times people will forget to also drink water during the day.  This caffeine consumption without water rehydration is a recipe for disaster when you step into the gym.

The human body is made up of approximately 70% water.  Being dehydrated by just 2% can hinder your body’s ability to perform by as much as 10-20%.  Water is involved in so many chemical processes in the body, so dehydration can slow the activity of enzymes in the body.  This can include enzymes responsible for producing energy.  Every cell in your body needs water in order to function – these functions include temperature maintenance, waste removal, and joint lubrication.  So, it is very obvious why staying properly hydrated is crucial to safety and efficiency in the gym.

How do you know if you’re dehydrated?  Here are some symptoms of dehydration: thirst, dry mouth, headaches, constipation, dizziness, muscle cramps, impaired memory/concentration, and fatigue.  Remember, if you’re thirsty, it means you’re already dehydrated.  That means you need to take note and take preventative measures during the day to prevent dehydration.

A popular and easy method of testing your hydration throughout the day is noting your urine color.  Someone who is well-hydrated will typically have colorless or very pale straw-colored urine.  If your urine is a dark yellow, then this is a sign that you’re dehydrated.  Please note: If you are taking vitamin B12, it will alter the color of your urine to a dark yellow color.

So, how much water should you drink every day to prevent dehydration?  The general rule of thumb is to drink at least 2 liters a day, PLUS 500 milliliters per hour of vigorous exercise.  If you have a hard time keeping track of how much water you’re drinking, you can fill a gallon jug with water at the beginning of each day and make sure you drink it throughout the day.  You can also carry around a water bottle and set a precedent to drink a full bottle every hour (or every 2 hours depending on how large the water bottle is).

We all get caught up in our daily work or activities, but just making a conscious effort of your water consumption is the easiest way to prevent dehydration.  The summers here in Houston are no joke, and dehydration should not be taken lightly either.  Stay hydrated during the day and stay safe during your workouts!