Beat the Heat: Health & Wellness in Triple Digits

As the Valley of the Sun swelters with intense hotness, being knowledgeable of how to curb dehydration and other heat related illnesses is vital to lead a healthy lifestyle. Separating the facts from myths of how to beat the heat during prolonged exposure to the surging weather conditions is essential for all that live in Arizona. There are several misconceptions regarding how much water one should consume on a daily basis as well as the quality of hydration from sports beverage.

Myth # 1: Sports drinks are more hydrating
A common mistake often made is consuming Gatorade or Powerade more than natural drinking water. Sports drinks often contain an excessive level of sugar that has the potential to dehydrate and deprive the body of the proper nutrients needed to fight the heat. Electrolytes are the key solution in sports drinks that fend against symptoms of dehydration. Electrolytes are essentially minerals– such as calcium, potassium, and sodium– that replenishes tissues and muscles in the body after exertion from physical activity or overheating occurs. Health professionals recommend coconut water as well as enhanced mineral water as a substitute to sports drinks, since they contain the necessary minerals without sugar. Sprinkling electrolyte powder into a glass of water is preferable, as well.

Myth # 2: One should only drink water to satisfy their thirst

Consuming fruits and veggies kills two birds with one stone, so to speak, when the thermometer blisters to severe levels. Not only do fruits and veggies contain natural sugars and fibers which do not parch the body, they are composed with a concentrated dosage of water. Blueberries, Broccoli, Watermelon, Tomatoes, and Cantaloupe all have over 90% water. Health professionals stress the importance of drinking water continuously throughout the day if one expects to run errands or spend prolonged periods in the heat. Eating fruits and veggies is a tasty and healthy alternative to constantly drinking water– however, don’t over rely on this method! Keep the body charged with electrolytes and minerals to ensure robustness and energy when being out and about.

Myth # 3: A liter of water a day keeps the doctor away
Merely being exposed to the desert dryness saps the body of hydration and electrolytes. Much like how sitting a glass of water in the suns leads the content to be quickly evaporated, the body is quickly drained of liquid even after a few minutes of exposure. The Mayo Clinic staff advises the average Arizonian to guzzle 3 liters of water a day (13 cups) for males, and 2.2 liters (9 cups) for females– although these statistics are relative to body weight and physical activity. Athletes and people who do not work in air conditioned areas need more than the recommended two to three liters of water per day. Health professionals recommend drinking five to seven ounces of water every fifteen minutes to sustain hydration. In terms of bottled water, that equates to fifteen water bottles a day.

Fun fact: If you’re over–heated, don’t guzzle a cold water bottle to avoid shocking your body and getting sick. Drink lukewarm or room temperature water in order to evade an abrupt change in body temperature. Ice cold water requires a greater amount of energy for the body to process, due to its effects on digestion and consequential reduction of hydration.

We hope these tips will help you out. However, these tips are not meant as medical advice. As always if you have health concerns please see your Doctor!

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