Importance of Hydrating Your Body This Summer

It is getting hot out, and I mean HOT! The dog days of summer are looming ahead of us and whether you are lying on the beach or soldiering through pre-season workouts, we could all use a little extra H2O this time of year.  Staying hydrated is often overlooked but isvitally important to your body’s functionality. The body of an average adult is comprised more than 60 percent of water; for an average 180 pound male that is almost 13 gallons! Now, that doesn’t mean that your skin acts as a water balloon with your organs floating around inside. The H20 molecules in your body are building blocks for virtually all of the tissues that make you a human. Check out just how much water your vital organs are made of!

• Brain: 73%
• Heart: 73%
• Lungs: 83%
• Skin: 64%
• Muscles: 79%
• Bones: 31%
• Blood: 92%

How about that for importance? Unfortunately your body isn’t a self replenishing reservoir. It does, however, attempt to dam itself up if it senses your water levels dropping. For instance, if you have spent a day in the sun and you are already partially dehydrated, the amount of water in your blood is low but the level of salt stays the same. Your body would then produce ADH (Anti-Diuretic Hormone) to prevent you from urinating in an attempt to hold water in. That said, your body can lose 2-3 liters of water a day from its normal operation. Water in the body is mostly lost from sweating, breathing (in the form of water vapor), and through excretion of waste. With the summer heat (yes, even laying on the beach doing nothing) the amount of water lost can skyrocket. Heat from the sun causes you to sweat even when you’re relaxing because it increases cellular metabolism which literally gives off heat. Your body excretes sweat in an attempt to maintain normal body temperature. You can live for a month without food, but only a week without water, so you must put back at least what your body loses to avoid dehydration.

Dehydration can sometimes be sneaky, with subtle symptoms. Always give yourself the pee test. Your urine should be clear to a light lemonade-like yellow. Darkened urine is the first indication of dehydration. Other symptoms include: incessant thirst, weakness, fatigue, muscle cramps, mental fogginess, confusion, lightheadedness, and decreased urination. At NJ Spine and Wellness we recommend at least 64 ounces of water per day. That’s the standard 8 glasses, but for summer hydration we encourage more than that! Staying hydrated allows your body to flush out toxins through increased kidney and liver health and heal injured tissues more efficiently. Water provides your muscles with elasticity so staying hydrated can even help with injury prevention. Hydrating properly also adds strength and elasticity to your skin, which can help avoid or ease sunburn.  Drinking enough water can also suppress your appetite. When your body is dehydrated, it can confuse signals for hunger and thirst causing you to think you are hungry but your body is actually in need of water.  Encourage yourself to drink more water by spicing it up with some sliced lemons, sliced cucumber and fresh mint leaves or even some fruit. The added water will certainly lead to better overall health.  Stay Well!


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