As the summer heat rises we automatically loose much more of our bodily water through participating in outdoor activities that naturally cause us to perspiration. Often people begin suffering from muscle cramps, especially at night, as our muscles are in rebuild and rejuvenate mode. As they rest they seek water, as does every bodily process, to aide in the process of repair and maintenance. Most of us grossly underestimate the necessary water intake anyway but during the hotter months it is very common. 70% of muscle cramping is the direct result of dehydration.
You may have heard this formula before but it is worth repeating. We need to be drinking ½ ounce of water per pound of body weight. So for example, I weigh 150 pounds so my MINIMUM water intake per day is 75 ounces. Almost everyone I share this with says, “If I drank that much water I would spend the entire day in the bathroom.” This would be true IF you didn’t increase your intake gradually over weeks. Here’s how to go about doing just that. Say you have been drinking three 8 ounce glasses a day. The way to give your body time to properly assimilate the added water is to add one 8 ounce glass first thing in the morning daily, when you are naturally dehydrated and, maintain this for 3-5 days. The next step is to add a second 8 ounce glass midmorning for another 3-5 days. To that regime add another 8 ounce glass midafternoon again, for another 3-5 days. Next, at meal times begin adding another 4-8 ounces to what you are already drinking at that time. At this point you may be approaching the minimum water intake, that is, when temperatures are moderate and activities are lower.
Once you have reached this level of water intake you may have noticed you are sleeping better, have more energy and feel mentally clearer. These are only a few of the many benefits of living in a fully hydrated body. Now, anything alcoholic or caffeinated is a diuretic and will pull water from your system so, for every cup of these that you drink, ADD another cup to your daily intake. Then there is the matter of heat and increased activities causing us to perspire. For every 30 minutes spent in the sun and or participating in outdoor activities add another cup of water. Notice I have not mentioned Gator aid, soft drinks, energy drinks or diet anything. This because there is NO replacement for pure, clean water for hydrating the body…NONE! Please if you are ingesting ANYTHING “diet” or otherwise that contains artificial sweeteners…STOP!!! Regardless of your favorite sugar substitute I promise its research is not complete and that which has been completed points directly to these products are making us fatter, sick and possibly even killing us. Stevia, Guava, honey or any other natural sweetener, even white cane sugar, is a better choice.
In conclusion I want to encourage you to consider experimenting with becoming a fully hydrated being and see the differences it makes to live that way. Be mindful of the heat you expose yourself to and activities that cause you to sweat. Increase your water appropriately to compensate for water lost. Enjoy a wondrous summer spending as time as possible outside, with friends and family and being active. And…drink plenty of water! Happy, healthy mind, body and spirit to you.