Hotter weather brings a greater risk of dehydration due to the increased fluid losses the body undergoes to cool down.
Add exercise to the mix and you further exacerbate the risk of dehydration due to even greater losses that come with exercise.
Dehydration can result in a variety of symptoms, ranging from mild to severe. Just a 2% drop in body weight from fluid loss can have a massive impact on both health and performance, including:
- Reduced concentration and skill execution
- Dry eyes and mouth
- Slower reaction times
A quick and easy way to regularly monitor your hydration status is by looking at your urine colour.
Essentially, the darker your urine, the more dehydrated you are.
Further, if you find you aren’t needing to go to the bathroom as often, this can indicate dehydration. You can use the chart below as a guide (can even stick it on the back of your bathroom door as a reminder).
Consistently maintaining optimal hydration status requires a proactive approach as opposed to a reactive one, and setting up cues or habits to encourage drinking can help.
- Keep a water bottle in your bag/s
- Have a glass of water at every main meal
- Have a glass of water next to your bed
- Mix regular water up with soda water and/or flavour it with fresh lemon, lime, mint or cucumber
- Drink tea while working or studying, preferably caffeine-free varieties like peppermint or camomile
Every individual is different and will require varying volumes of fluid per day to match their specific needs. Even for the same individual, the amount of fluid needed to stay hydrated across different days of the week can vary due to changing weather conditions and exercise frequency or intensity.