How to Stay Hydrated in Hot Weather

Figuring out your personal 'sweat rate' is the secret to avoiding dehydration, expert says

SATURDAY, July 2 (HealthDay News) -- Staying hydrated is critical if you're physically active in hot weather.

But individuals have different hydration needs, so you need to assess your personal sweat rate, according to Brendon McDermott at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.

"Sweat rate is very simple to calculate: weigh yourself before exercise, with as little clothing as possible; exercise for half an hour and don't drink or use the bathroom for that half hour; weigh yourself again, wearing the same amount of clothing to see how much you've lost," he explained in a university news release.

If you've lost a pound, for example, that translates to about 16 ounces of fluid that you'll need to replace. Sports organizations suggest dividing your total by four to see how much water you need to drink every fifteen minutes while exercising to replace your lost fluids.

When exercising in hot weather, you should be well-hydrated when you begin your exercise and fluids should be readily accessible during your activity. Don't wait until you feel parched before you drink, because the thirst mechanism isn't triggered until you're two percent dehydrated, said McDermott, assistant professor, clinical coordinator for graduate athletic training program and co-director of the applied physiology laboratory.

Having cool fluids on hand may encourage your to drink during activity in hot weather. If you're playing sports or exercising for longer than an hour, you may require sports drinks.

You can also monitor your hydration status by a tried-and-true method: checking the color of your urine.

"It should have a light yellow tinge to it. Lemonade is much better than apple juice. And if you're delving into the ice tea realm, it's time to drink," said McDermott, who noted that it's normal to have darker urine in the morning.

After your activity, it's important to rehydrate as soon as possible within 30 minutes, he advised.

More information

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more about water you need.

Robert Preidt SOURCE: University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, news release, June 26, 2011

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