Read a condensed version of this article on Medium!
As summer approaches with vacations, sunshine, and lots of barbecues, a lot of us are dreaming of margaritas on the beach rather than boring old water.
We’re actually made up of 60% water (and only about 1% tequila on a great day when we’re on vacation). It helps lubricate our joints, regulate out body temperature, and helps us flush waste from our bodies (including body fat) through respiration or urination.
Water is so incredibly important for a number of reasons and as we approach summer, water and staying hydrated will help keep us safe as well. This is especially important as we begin to hit July and August, where temperatures start to hit the 90’s and 100’s and the humidity turns up.
How Much Water?
Well that depends. A great rule of thumb is to use the 8×8 rule: 8 glasses of water that are 8 ounces each.
Me? Because I’m so active, I find that 96oz (or 12 glasses of water that are 8 oz each) is better for me because my blood volume is higher and I don’t feel too full. Some experts recommend a gallon or more of water per day for optimal weight loss, but I don’t think that’s necessary unless you have a lot of weight to lose or your goals are for sports performance.
One of my favorite ways to track my water is to count the number of 32oz bottles I drink in a day. I try to get 3 of these in throughout the day and I know I’ve hit my goal.
If you’re looking for something bigger, take a look at the Hydrojug. It holds up to 73 ounces of water, has a wide-mouth top, has a seal to prevent leaks, and has a large handle for carrying. I like this jug for busy days, hikes, trips, and just for everyday use. I use mine a lot for work because I’m on the road a lot. Then I don’t have to worry about finding a place to fill it up later. They also have carry straps and straws too. For under $30, you can have one shipped to your house.
Water Helps You Lose Body Fat
As we start working out and becoming healthier, we need to take in more water for a number of reasons: because our blood volume increases to transport more oxygen and nutrients throughout our body and to help burn body fat.
Water helps activate your metabolism for up to an hour and activate that feeling of being full, so if weight loss is your goal, water is your best friend. A study in middle-aged adults published by the U.S. National Library of Medicine found that adults who increased their water intake before and after meals achieved greater weight loss than their peers who ate in a caloric deficit. This was true across the board for women and children as well considered overweight.
Cold water, specifically, helps activate the metabolism even more because the body has to equalize the temperature of the water with your body temperature before it can fully process it. Because your body must achieve homeostasis (a fancy word for balance), your metabolism has to fire up, causing more energy to be used.
A Side Note: Please for the Love of God, Eliminate Your Soda Intake (THIS INCLUDES DIET SODA)
I’m on my soapbox here for a minute: If you’re looking to increase your fluid intake, DO NOT DRINK SODA OR OTHER SUGARY DRINKS TO DO IT.
I’ll be writing about this next week, but simply eliminating 1 soda or 1 juice from your diet can help you lose as much as 15 pounds per year by saving you an extra 1,050 calories a week and saving you up to 220g of added sugar.
AND diet soda’s artificial sweeteners don’t stimulate the feeling of being full, leading you to eat or drink MORE. Artificial sweeteners are also known to break down into other toxic chemicals as your body processes them, including a form of formaldehyde, which wreaks havoc on your body.
Bottom Line: JUST DON’T DRINK IT.
More about this next week. Stay tuned y’all!
Summer Safety: Heat Stroke and Heat Exhaustion
With workouts going outside, people having picnics, and children playing, it’s really important to make sure you’re drinking enough fluids and being aware of the humidity and heat outside. You don’t want to end up in a situation where you or a loved one is experiencing heat exhaustion or heatstroke, which are both serious medical events that require attention.
Let’s talk about each one.
Occurs when your body is overheated and having a hard time cooling itself. If you or someone around you feel any of the symptoms associated with the heat, STOP ALL ACTIVITY IMMEDIATELY and move to a cooler environment to rest. Safety is paramount.
- Cool, moist skin (can be accompanied by goosebumps) in the heat
- Profuse sweating
- Weak but rapid heartbeat
In addition to moving to a cooler environment, you should lay down in the shock position (shown below) and run a fan over yourself or the affected person. Sip cool water and ride it out.
If the affected person passes out, cannot drink water, or becomes lucid, contact emergency services immediately and stick cold washcloths in their armpits and groin area to help them cool faster. If they pass out, time is of the essence and they could be experiencing Heatstroke.
Heatstroke is typically characterized as a change in sweating, but it manifests in other ways too. Heatstroke normally occurs because of strenuous activity or prolonged exposure to the heat, especially during the summer months. Dehydration, age, and other factors can lead to heatstroke in a serious situation.
- High body temp (> 104 F)
- Change in behavior or mental state (unaware, lucid, seizures, coma)
- Hot and dry skin (skin will be pale or flushed)
- Rapid breathing
- Rapid heartrate
- Nausea or vomiting
If you believe heatstroke is occurring, seek immediate emergency medial attention. Time is of the essence because damage to the brain, muscles, organs, and other tissue occurs during this time. The body can no longer cool itself and is beginning to shut down.
Move the person into a cool environment in the shock position and try to cool them as best you can. Remove excess clothing, put the washcloths and a fan on them, and monitor their condition until EMS arrives.
The Bottom Line
Staying hydrated keeps you safe and healthy so that you can continue to enjoy life. It helps you lose weight by activating your metabolism and easing hunger, but you shouldn’t be drinking soda or juice. For optimal intake, follow the 8×8 rule.
Proper hydration, especially during the summer, helps prevent heat exhaustion and heat stroke. If you or someone you know is experiencing any symptoms, remove them from the heat and have them rest. If you think someone is experiencing heatstroke, call 911 immediately.
Drink your water and stay healthy year-round.
Happy LIFTing, Les
*This article is purely informational, does not constitute medical advice, and should not be used to diagnose, treat, or cure any disease or condition. For more information or to become first-aid/AED/CPR certified, visit redcross.org and find a course near you.*