Gateau Physical Therapy & Sports Medicine

The Importance of Staying Hydrated

by Bonnie Torres, DPT, Cert MDT, June 17, 2016

Since it's June and the weather is hot, it's a great time to talk about the importance of staying hydrated while you're out and about. It is recommended that the average person drink 48-64 ounces of water every day. This is about 6-8 full glasses or about 4-5 soda cans worth of WATER. It is important to note, that while they may taste good, drinks that have sugar or caffeine in them (like juices, sodas, and teas) actually work to dehydrate you because the body must use the water it already has to balance out the sugar you are ingesting. Or, in the case of caffeine, you are prompted to use the restroom more often, thus eliminating most of the water you just consumed. Water is always the best option when trying to stay hydrated and healthy.

Dehydration can be common during the hotter months and especially if one is physically active outside. It is normally not dangerous unless it is left untreated. Signs of dehydration include:

  • Feeling thirsty
  • Having urine that is very dark in color or very concentrated
  • Headaches
  • Sleepiness
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness

If dehydration is not addressed in individuals who are outside in the heat or who are physically active in hot temperatures, it can cause heat stroke, which means the body can no longer regulate it's internal temperature. This is very dangerous and needs to be immediately treated with medical attention. Signs of heat stroke include:

  • Nausea, vomiting, and/or diarrhea
  • Confusion/disorientation
  • Seizures
  • Fainting or loss of consciousness
  • Muscle weakness or cramps
  • Rapid heartbeat and breathing

Sometimes it's hard to remember to drink water throughout the day, but it's always a good idea to keep some water near you wherever you are. Water helps to regulate our body systems and remove toxins from our bloodstreams. Remember that it's always important to stay hydrated, no matter what time of the year it is!