There’s nothing better than playing or exercising… until you get dehydrated. Dehydration occurs when your body loses more water than you take in. It’s very easy for you and your kids to get dehydrated, especially during the summer when you’re likely to sweat more.
The best way to avoid dehydration when working or playing is to drink water before, during and after a task or workout. Dehydration begins before you feel thirsty, so it is important to start hydrating early. Drink fluids (preferably water!) at least every 20-30 minutes during exercise or physical work to replace the water you lose through sweat.
Signs of dehydration include increased thirst, decreased urination, dark yellow or brown urine, fatigue, confusion, dry skin, dry mouth and heat intolerance. Dehydration can make you feel cranky, dizzy, and lethargic, and can give you a headache or cramps. Severe dehydration could even cause you to have a stroke!
For exercise or physical labor lasting longer than 60 minutes, sports drinks are acceptable for hydration to replace the sodium and other electrolytes you lose through sweat. Water is the best choice, however, for physical activity lasting less than 60 minutes. When you’re working or exercising outside, avoid drinks that contain alcohol, high levels of sugar and/or high levels of caffeine. Caffeine and alcohol can increase the amount of water your body loses.
If you don’t like to drink plain water, jazz it up by adding sliced fruits and vegetables to your water bottle for a healthy taste of sweetness without unhealthy additives. Many foods (like watermelon and tomato) can help you stay hydrated because of the amount of water in them.