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Summer Safety: Tips on How to Stay Hydrated in the Heat

It’s official. Summer is in full swing, and it is hot out there. Those of you who were courageous enough to brave the heat for the Memorial Day Festival and Parade last Monday are probably already well-aware of the effects that the blistering sun can have on us. Not only is there potential for sunburn and heat exhaustion, but we are constantly sweating in order to help steady our body temperature. All that sweat means water is being leeched from our bodies, so it is important for us to replenish those water stores as quickly as possible.

When I started losing weight, finding ways to keep myself hydrated was important for different reasons. Oftentimes, my mind would translate feelings of thirst into feelings of hunger, which meant that I was likely to eat more if I was dehydrated. This, along with having smoother, more elastic skin, and a more regular digestive process, was just one of the benefits of making sure I was hydrating properly.

Even armed with the knowledge that, whether for my health or for the heat, I should be drinking water – at least 64 ounces a day, but ideally more – it’s still not always easy to meet that minimum. Whether we are consumed with work that keeps us stuck to our desks or out and about having fun with friends, it is all too easy to forget about knocking back the H20. I try to keep the following tips in mind to make sure I am staying hydrated, and invite you to do the same!

1. Make it convenient

At my last job, there was one of those little water coolers about four feet away from my desk. I could essentially swivel my chair and have fresh water at my fingertips. I drank so much more water at that job than I do now, where I have to walk the length of the office (the horror!) to get to a water fountain. Why? Convenience! You might consider asking your office manager if you can get a similar water cooler installed in a central place, or perhaps you can bring in a mini-fridge to keep at your desk to store pre-filled bottles in.

2. Carry it with you

Okay, so maybe your boss says you don’t have the budget for a more hydration-friendly office, or you’re thinking about those non-office moments (rare though they may be). Well, have no fear, there’s an even simpler way to ensure you have water available at all times. Just make sure you always carry a bottle with you. Now, for bag ladies like me, it’s easy to toss a reusable water bottle into a giant purse. Kleen Kanteen, Nalgene, and Camelbak are just a few of the dozens of companies that make environmentally-friendly and BPA-free bottles.

3. Make it interesting

I hear it all the time: “Water is so boring!” “I just can’t drink that much water.” “I don’t like the taste.” Well, I hate to break it to you, but water is awesome. You can flavor it with anything, you can make it sparkle, it is good hot and it is good cold. Experiment! I have a particular affinity for sparkling water, which I can make myself thanks to my Soda Stream carbonator.

Other Suggestions

– Add a squeeze of lemon or lime to ice water when at a restaurant.

– Enjoy a drizzle or a touch of honey in a steamy mug of hot water on cold days.

– Use frozen fruit instead of ice cubes to give your glass some color and zing.

– Homemade cucumber water is very refreshing and just about the easiest thing ever: slice cucumbers, add to water.

There are tons of combinations and experiments you can do to make water more appealing to you. Try a few of them out, find a way that makes staying hydrated easy and convenient, and get to drinking!

 Gretchen Powell is a fitness and healthy living blogger in Falls Church. She is not a registered dietitian, nutritionist, or medical doctor, and a medical professional should be consulted before undertaking dramatic diet changes. For more, visit honeyishrunkthegretchen.com.

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