Most Long Islander’s summer plans undoubtedly include time at the ocean, pools and water parks, but it’s even more important to consider the fluids that go inside – especially when it comes to outdoor workouts and long days spent in the sun.
“Hydration is the key to a healthy body all year – nothing else is more essential,” said Deborah Farrell, nutritionist and owner of Deb’s Balanced Nutrition in Garden City. “Eight glasses of water a day is just an estimate – most men need more and women under 5’7” need less. The amount of water you need in a day depends on the level of physical activity, duration of the physical activity and the height, gender and age of the person.” While rising temperatures and increased outdoor activity should spur a person to reach for a water glass more often in the summer, Farrell said her clients often confuse dehydration with hunger. She advises them to drink a glass of water when they first wake up, before meals, and when they think they feel hungry. And take it easy on those summer cocktails – too much alcohol won’t help.
Athletes and those who are especially active in the summer months will have different hydration needs. “Always have fluids on hand – dehydration can happen at any time,” “Generally, dieticians recommend approximately half of one’s body weight in ounces of water per day, year round.”
The biggest mistake we see our clients make when it comes to hydration is reaching for sports drinks during exercise. Sports drinks are very high in sugar and most fitness enthusiasts do not require that amount of glucose at once, Repeated ingestion of high glucose drinks can lead to weight gain. We do not recommend sports drinks to our fitness enthusiasts– water is sufficient for most exercise if you drink early and often. Having a piece of fresh fruit, some protein and more water after a hard workout will replenish and regulate body temperature.” For children, Farrell recommends a sports bottle filled with water and a splash of fruit juice to refuel during summer camp or long days outdoors.
The only exception to the rule is endurance athletes. Those who exercise in excess of one and half hours could benefit from sipping on a sports drink or water with added electrolytes such as Trace Minerals Power Pack, for the remainder of the workouts. Don’t drink a sports drink just because your favorite athlete drinks one.”
While each person’s fluid needs will vary, experts recommend listening to your body and responding to what it needs. Feeling sluggish and tired are some of the first signs of dehydration. Keeping a bottle or glass of water on hand at all times is one of the simplest ways to remain hydrated.