Summertime! It is time to play outside. But outside is not very climate controlled and you sweat out water and electrolytes. How to put them back in? Read on...
1. Water. Water. Water. Being active and playing outside for an hour or two in the heat? If you are healthy and have been eating a balanced diet (including at least 8 cups of water each day), then plain water is your best hydration drink for that hour of playing in the sun.
2. Natural electrolyte drinks. Staying out longer than a couple of hours? Intensely exercising for an hour? Diluted vegetable juices - half water and half vegetable juice, especially one high in celery juice. If you have a juicer, create your own vegetable juice with greens, celery, carrot, and a little apple or pineapple to sweeten it. If you prefer a powdered vegetable juice mix, make it with a little extra water. (If you are playing intensely for many hours, commercial electrolyte drinks are beneficial, too.)
3. Just Eat It. Eat your water. Eat your electrolytes. Watermelon and other melons. Salads (without the heavy dressings that are harder to digest in the heat). Celery.
4. Drink fluids at room temperature. Remember those ice cream headaches? If you come in from the heat to a very cold room and drink an iced drink, it may feel good for a few minutes. But you may constrict your blood vessels and give yourself a terrible headache later. (Of course, we are talking about preventing over-heating, not dealing with heat exhaustion. That's a medical issue to handle specifically.)
5. Hydrate regularly: before, during, and after. Don't gulp down 3 cups of water right before a run. That is a set up for stomach cramps. What's best? Consistently hydrating both in small doses throughout your play and hydrating afterwards for recovery.
Stay hydrated everyday, because you never know...an opportunity to go outside and play could show up anytime. Have a fun and safe summer.