By Fit For Work Staff

At the height of summer it’s even more important to stay hydrated. Here are some tips to keep you healthy and active in the heat:

Water requirements and needs

Why it’s important: Water helps our body digest food and dissolve nutrients so they can be dispersed through the bloodstream. It carries waste products out of the body, regulates body temperature, aids in metabolic functions, controls heart rate and blood pressure, and helps conduct electrical messages within the body so that our muscles can move, eyes can see and brain can think.

  • The general rule to obey is to drink one-half ounce of water for every pound of body weight. For example, a 200-pound individual should aim for 100 ounces of water daily.
  • After an intense workout or spending time outside sweating in the heat, you should drink an extra 16 to 20 ounces of water for every pound lost.
  • It is important to drink BEFORE you are thirst, as the body hides mild hydration well. Signs of dehydration include headaches, cramps, nausea, dizziness and weakness.
  • You can get water from many sources, including water fruits and vegetables, such as lettuce, oranges, watermelon and cucumbers. You can also get some water from various beverages, but keep in mind some beverages have contents (such as caffeine, sodium and alcohol) that can rob the body of water by producing a diuretic effect.

Tips for exercising in the heat

  • Time it right. Try to avoid exercising outside from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., generally the hottest part of the day with the most direct sunlight. Try to get your outdoor activity in the morning.
  • Wear loose, light-colored clothing. The lighter color will help reflect heat and cotton material will help evaporation of sweat. You may also want to try high-tech running shirts and shorts which are often made from material specially designed to keep you cool.
  • Sunscreen is a must. You can get burned and suffer damage to your skin even on cloudy days.
  • Hydrate in advance. Before you go outside, drink two glasses of water. Take a bottle of water with you, and take a sip every 15 minutes, even if you aren’t thirsty. When you’re done with your workout, have a few more glasses of water (or sports drink if you sweat heavily or exercised more than 45 minutes).
  • If you can, choose shaded trails or pathways that keep you out of the sun.
  • Check the weather forecast before you start your workout. If there’s a heat advisory or alert for high air pollution levels, you might want to take your workout indoors. These pollutants can damage your lungs.
  • Most importantly, listen to your body. Stop immediately if you’re feeling dizzy, faint or nauseous.

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