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Summer is here once again, and filled with sun, fun and activity, but it also comes with sunburn, heat, sweat, and dehydration.

Sometimes a beautiful, sunny summer day can be more than you bargained for. Staying hydrated during the hot weather is important because going even just one day without water can have a negative impact on your health. The importance of drinking water to stay hydrated in the summer only becomes more important as you age. Sugary drinks that claim to have the proper amount of electrolytes aren’t sufficient for when you’re thirsty.

When it comes to drinking enough water, most Americans drink far less than the daily recommendation of 8 cups of water a day, which means that most of them are in a state of dehydration.

According to Medical Daily, “CBS reports that while most people know perfectly well that water is the way to go, up to 75 percent of the American population fall short of the 10 daily cups prescribed by the Institute of Medicine – which, in medical terms, means that most people in the U.S are functioning in a chronic state of dehydration.”

We don’t want you to be one of them, which is why we’ve put together this list of ways you can keep hydrated this summer.

#1 – Plan Ahead

Start hydrating the day before you plan on lots of physical activity outside in the sun and the heat. That way you aren’t trying to play catch up from the start, because you won’t be able to tell you are dehydrated until it is too late. If you start early and often, you have a better chance of not getting dehydrated.

Planning ahead for when you will be most susceptible to dehydration is a great strategy to make sure your summertime activities don’t wear you down or make you sick.

#2 – Drink regularly

Make it a point to routinely drink water when you first wake up in the morning. This is beneficial because hydrating first thing in the morning is the most effective time of the day to do so! Then make sure you are carrying a water bottle with you wherever you go so you can be constantly sipping on it all day.

It may seem like overkill, but setting an alarm or pop-up reminders on your phone or email to remind you to drink a glass of water at predetermined times throughout the day can really help keep you on track for proper hydration.

#3 – Urine Lets You Know The State of Hydration You’re In

A simple way to check up on how hydrated you are is by watching your urine. If your water intake has been low, your urine will be sure to let you know.

If your urine is dark or yellow, you are more than likely dehydrated. As a rule of thumb, the darker your urine, the more dehydrated you are. Let your body be your gauge – it can help you from the undesirable side effects of dehydration like muscle cramps, nausea and heart palpitations. If this is happening consistently, then you are chronically dehydrated and may want to speak with your doctor to address the issue.

#4 – Coffee Conundrum

Look, we know there’s nothing quite like that first cup of coffee in the morning. It’s a little slice of heaven. In general, it’s best to not consume beverages known to cause dehydration in the first place. Too much caffeine can have a diuretic effect in the body, leading to dehydration, so you need to watch how many cups of coffee throughout the day.

While coffee and other natural stimulants like green tea may provide a number of health benefits , you still want to limit your consumption of them and balance them with plenty of hydrating liquids and beverages.

#5 – Eat a Diet Rich In Whole Foods

Eating water-rich whole foods like vegetables, fruits, and yogurt will help increase your fluid intake. Some of the best fruits to help you stay hydrated are watermelon, pineapple, strawberries and oranges, while the best water-rich veggies would be cucumbers, iceberg lettuce, celery and green peppers. Making foods like these a staple of your summer diet.

No surprise here – processed snack foods like chips, crackers, pretzels, and baked goods have little to no water content – so avoid eating too many of them if you want to stay hydrated – and healthy.

#6 Let Loose The Juice
While water may be the top dog of hydrating beverages, it is still kind of boring to drink. It’s just water. Adding some flavor kicks it up a notch and adds variety. Packing your water jug with fresh herbs like basil or mint or chopped fruit to take the water in a whole new direction. Don’t believe us? Try this strawberry-basil combo and see how delicious it can be.

Bright-tasting herbal teas are another good choice. You can also add a splash or two of fruit juice to naturally carbonated spring water or try an all natural, low sugar soda – they do exist, and they are delicious.

Summer is no fun if you’re sick, and dehydration can get you there real quick if you aren’t careful. Make sure to follow these simple suggestions and the only thing you’ll have to worry about this summer is your tan.

Jim Otteson

Author Jim Otteson

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