WomanWaterDrinking plenty of fluids throughout the summer months will help keep you safe and comfortable. Without adequate hydration, people of all ages can suffer from heat exhaustion, which can include muscle cramps and nausea, or heat stroke, which can be life-threatening.

Today, however, there are dozens and dozens of choices in beverages–from plain old water to coconut water to caffeine–infused energy drinks. For healthy hydration, it’s best to keep things simple, according to nutrition experts. Stick with plain tap water or, for athletes, sports drinks containing electrolytes and carbohydrates but that are low in sugar.

WaterDropOne common mistake people make is not consuming fluids several hours before exercising or spending time outdoors.

Drink 16 to 20 ounces of water or a sports beverage at least four hours before exercise or prolonged heat exposure. Drink about 8 to 12 ounces of water 10 to 15 minutes before exercise or heat exposure. Consume 3 to 8 ounces every 15 to 20 minutes when exercising or during extremely hot weather.

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References

American College of Sports Medicine: http://www.acsm.org/docs/brochures/selecting-and-effectively-using-hydration-for-fitness.pdf
U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – http://www.cdc.gov/extremeheat/pdf/brochurepreview.pdf

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