In the good ole summertime, there are tons of fun activities to enjoy outside. With higher temperatures and more outdoor activities, our bodies lose more water, and the risk of dehydration increases.

Adequate hydration is important to maintain body temperature, optimize blood pressure, enhance circulation and proper digestion as well as move nutrients in and waste products out of the body. If the body becomes dehydrated, this can cause fatigue, muscle cramps, extreme thirst as well as loss of appetite, dry mouth, mild constipation, lightheadedness, low back discomfort, headaches and carb cravings.

While having enough fluid is important for everyone, children, pregnant women and the elderly are more susceptible to dehydration. The summertime is a particularly important time to tune in to how you can make sure to get an adequate amount of fluids.

Here are basic tips to boost hydration:

>> Know how much water you need – While recommendations vary depending on age, weight and activity level, the general rule of thumb is 15 glasses for men and 11 glasses for women (a glass is 8 ounces). Another method for adults is to take your weight and divide it by 2, and this is how many ounces of fluid you need daily. Talk to your doctor if you have medical conditions that might restrict fluid needs, such as kidney disease. Remember, you need more fluid if exercising or working outside in the heat and humidity.

>> Invest in a water bottle – Whether you choose stainless or glass or an insulated container, having a method to measure fluid intake can help ensure adequate intake.

>> Eat more fresh fruits and veggies – Plant foods naturally contain water, including cucumbers, melon, peppers, tomatoes, berries and grapes.

>> Infuse water with flavor – most people drink better with a flavor such as citrus, berries, herbs and spices. Add fruits to water and let the flavor soak in for four hours or overnight.

>> Presoak chia seeds – Chia seeds absorb water and release it during digestion. Simply stir ¼ cup chia seeds into 1 cup water and let them gel. Add this to smoothies, oatmeal or water.

>> Watch out for alcohol and be cautious with caffeine – Drink more water if consuming either.

>> Take note of your urine color – Dark colored or cloudy urine indicates dehydration, so drink enough fluids to keep it a pale yellow.

>> Help keep kids hydrated – Offer cold water, fresh fruit and popsicles all summer long instead of sweet drinks such as juice or soda.

Infused water ideas

Start with ½ gallon of water and add the following combinations. Combine and let it sit in the fridge for at least 4 hours or overnight.

>> Strawberry lemon – 10 to 15 strawberries and 1 sliced lemon.

>> Pineapple mint – 1 cup slice pineapple and 10 to 15 muddled mint leaves.

>> Blueberry orange – 1 sliced orange and 1 cup blueberries.

>> Spa water – 1 sliced cucumber with 10 to 15 mint leaves or 1 sliced lime.

>> Ginger lemon – ¼ cup peeled and sliced ginger with 1 sliced lemon.

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For more information on adopting healthier lifestyle changes, contact Kitty Finklea, lifestyle coach, registered dietitian and personal trainer at McLeod Health and Fitness Center, at 843-777-3000.

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