4 Ways to Beat the Heat and Stay Hydrated This Summer

By: , SparkPeople Health & Fitness Writer

The season is finally warming up and transitioning to summer, and with it comes a lot of other changes: You're probably swapping out your pants for shorts, sweatshirts for tank tops and putting your coats and snow boots into storage. You might also pull the grill out of the garage, get out your lawn chairs and start stocking up on sunscreen. Most people look forward to summer's plethora of outdoor activities—but forget to change up what they eat and drink.

Follow these four hydration tips to stay energized, cool and well-hydrated during your favorite hot-weather activities.

  1. Know how much to hydrate. The Institute of Medicine at the National Academies of Sciences recommends that adults try to drink 11-16 total cups of fluids a day. This may seem like a lot, but remember, those fluids can come from a wide range of beverages, as well as foods. In fact, low- or no-calorie beverages provide some sweetness without the calories and are predominately water. If you exercise, be sure to drink before, during and after, too.

    SparkPeople member PKCHANDLER loves low- or no-calorie sweetened beverages because they are "A refreshing drink I don't have to 'count,'" and she, "Looks forward to grabbing a refreshing beverage with no added calories."

  2. Eat plenty of water-filled foods. Fruits and vegetables are packed with water and can count toward your hydration goals for the day. Fruits like watermelon, strawberries, grapefruit, pineapple and oranges are nearly 90 percent water. Cucumbers, lettuce, zucchini, cabbage and peppers are also about 90 percent water, so don't hesitate to stock up the next time you find yourself at the farmers market or a produce stand.

    Sparkpeople member CMCKENNAHOME satisfies her sweet tooth and stays hydrated with "Fruit, coffee with Stevia or diet iced tea at least once a day," she says.

  3. Don't discount low- or no-calorie beverages. Even if you drink a lot of water all day, beverages with sugar substitutes can help you stay hydrated, too. Not only are they a proven tool to help you maintain a healthy weight, they donít leave you feeling hungrier, so they can be a beneficial part of an overall weight management plan. The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey found that people who eat a balanced diet are also likely to drink low- or no-calorie beverages. So, go ahead—it's okay if you want to reach for one.

    "[Low- or no-calorie beverages] are just enough—a splurge without a ton of guilt," Sparkpeople member FRUITSANDVEG says.

  4. Pay attention to your thirst. Even if you feel just a little thirsty, quench it by reaching for water or any other low- or no-calorie beverage of your choice if you want a little sweetness. Don't ignore your body's signals. If you don't drink when you're thirsty, you may become dehydrated.

    For more tips on staying hydrated this summer, click here.

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