Summer Time Blues


“What in the world is wrong with me? I feel tired, wiped out, depleted. My legs feel heavy, I just don’t feel like doing anything. My head aches. I need a nap.” Sound familiar?


You may think you have the summertime blues, or if you’re pessimistic, something much more serious, but GOOD NEWS . . .


YOU’RE PROBABLY JUST DEHYDRATED!


Most people don’t realize that one of the early symptoms of dehydration is fatigue. If you are on blood pressure or heart medications – especially diuretics – you can become dehydrated very easily. Activities that once were a breeze for you are now more difficult, especially on hot and humid summer days.


If you exercise or do work that causes your muscles to heat up, your body will pull fluid out of your blood vessels to cool them down. The harder the work the greater the uptake of fluid. When this happens, vessels that support normal blood pressure can become depleted leading to fatigue, even dizziness.


Sweating can also lead to dehydration. Sweat evaporates, so you may not even be aware that you’re losing fluid. Keep this in mind if you are working in the garden or walking outdoors. If you tend to pour out buckets when you exercise or do strenuous work, beware that this could lead to extreme dehydration. Serious medical conditions can occur, as you are not only losing large amounts of fluid, but salt and other important electrolytes.


The important thing is to stay hydrated:


DRINK, DRINK, DRINK!!!!!

(just to be clear . . . I’m talking about water)


You should be drinking at least half your body weight in ounces of water every single day. That means if you weigh 200 lb. you should be drinking 100 ounces of water daily. That is about 3 liters, which would be 1 ½ of those large soda bottles. (If you are on a doctor prescribed fluid restriction, please follow your doctor’s orders and do not exceed your limit.)


Caffeine is a natural diuretic (causes increased urination) so if you drink something caffeinated (coffee, tea, soda) you should immediately drink an equal amount of water. In other words, caffeine doesn’t count, and you need to take in more water to counteract the diuretic effects.


Alcohol doesn’t count either as it can actually cause dehydration. You know that awful feeling we call a hangover? Much of that feeling is caused by dehydration.


Fruit juice can count as good fluid replacement but be careful of the excess sugar—especially if you are diabetic.


Soda doesn’t count either – again, because it can be full of caffeine and sugar. If you love the sparkling stuff, seltzer or soda water with mild flavoring can be a good option.


Don’t like water? There are many ways to add flavor and make it more exciting. But be careful of some of today’s “water enhancers” as they often contain added caffeine and sugar. You could try adding a slice of lemon or lime. Or blend ice cubes and water with your favorite fruit. You could even add mint or herbs to give it some punch.


Constantly monitor yourself for signs of dehydration such as thirst, dry mouth, fatigue, dizziness, headache, or muscle cramps. If you have any of these signs it’s likely you are already dehydrated. Take in more water and replace electrolytes with Gatorade or sports drinks. There are lots of electrolyte powders available today such as Drip Drop or Liquid IV that can really help prevent serious dehydration.


So, there is a cure for the summertime blues and it’s as easy as drinking a few extra glasses of water each day. So, drink up . . . you’ll be like a well-watered garden, lush, full of vitality and feeling great!

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