Extension Connection: Weekend warriors need to stay hydrated

Warmer temperatures prompt the need to increase beverage consumption to avoid dehydration.

Dehydration can be caused by losing too much fluid (such as through excessive exercise, working outside, or from illness) or not drinking enough fluid. Many people are unaware of the early signs of dehydration, which can include headache, dry or sticky mouth, low or no urine output, or dark yellow urine.

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Dehydration can lead to mild to severe heat-related illnesses, such as heat cramps, heat exhaustion and heatstroke. Some people may be particularly vulnerable to dehydration and heat-related illness during summer workouts. These would include people who:

  • rarely exercise
  • are overweight or obese
  • have had a recent illness that caused vomiting or diarrhea
  • have had a previous heat-related illness
  • spend a lot of time indoors
  • drink caffeinated beverages or take medications that can cause dehydration (such as antihistamines and diuretics)
  • participate at a level that exceeds their ability

Prevent dehydration and heat-related illness

Determining appropriate water intake isn't an exact science. How much water you need depends on your physical condition, activity level, locale and physiology.

To be on the safe side, make a conscious effort each day to stay hydrated. Water, rather than a carbonated or caffeine-containing drink, should be the beverage of choice with every meal and between meals. It's also critical to drink water before, during and after practices and games.

Take frequent drinks before and during practices and games.

Arrive at your practice or game with a cold bottle of water. Ten to 20 minutes before the practice or game begins, drink 7 to 10 ounces of fluid. If the activity is strenuous and the weather is hot, drink two to four glasses -- 16 to 32 ounces -- of water per hour of activity.

Iced tea is a healthful summer drink

Iced tea comes in second to water for a healthful summer beverage. To decrease the amount of sugar you use, make a sugar syrup that's half sugar and half water -- boiled until it's clear -- and then let it cool. You will use less sugar if you sweeten your teas with this instead of granulated sugar that falls to the bottom. Green tea also is a refreshing iced variety, as well as iced tea made from fruity herbal teas mixtures.

For more information, visit contact Elisa at the CSU Moffat County Extension Office at 824-9180.

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