Want to Beat the Heat and Stay Energized? Drink Water
By Natalia Earl
CSG Project Engineer
As we approach the hot summer months, we remind everyone to drink water, even if you sit at a desk all day!
Let’s start out with a story. Sam is working outside, the sun is shining, and it’s about 95 degrees. Sam starts to feel thirsty and decides once he’s finished with his task, he will get a drink. Sam had a late night and is very tired. He can barely think about the task he’s working on.
Because Sam is tired, the task took him longer to complete than expected. Sam finally finished the task and walked over to his car to get a drink. He has two drink options: a water bottle or an energy drink. Since Sam is tired, he chooses the energy drink instead of the water bottle. Sam goes back to work feeling refreshed and more awake. A couple of hours go by and Sam starts feeling sick. He’s thirstier and even more tired than before. Sam stops what he’s doing, drinks the bottle of water and goes home because he feels sick.
HOW COULD HAVE SAM’S DAY BEEN DIFFERENT?
It’s a hot summer day. Always remember to check the weather before working. Bring enough cold water to hydrate you throughout the day and keep the water close to the work area
How much water should you drink in a day? The recommended amount of water varies from person to person, depending on how active they are and how much they sweat. According to the Institute of Medicine, an adequate intake for men is approximately 13 cups (3 liters) a day. For women, an adequate intake is around 9 cups (2.2 liters) a day.
Sam should have stopped working and gotten a drink of water when he first felt thirsty. Usually when you start feeling thirsty, you’re already dehydrated and need to play catch-up. But depending on thirst alone sometimes is not enough to stay hydrated. Keep a cool water bottle close by to drink often throughout the day. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) states that workers should drink plenty of water every 15 to 20 minutes. Water should have a palatable (pleasant and odor-free) taste, and water temperature should be 50F to 60F, if possible.
Choosing energy drinks over water. Since Sam was tired, he chose the wrong drink to satisfy his thirst and tiredness. Some might say, what’s wrong with drinking energy drinks? Energy drinks are primarily made up of two ingredients: sugar and caffeine. Both of those ingredients actually dehydrate the body and only boost energy temporary.
Energy drinks should NEVER be a replacement for water.
Our bodies need water. We cannot survive without it. The simple act of drinking water when tired will rehydrate the body and will actually boost energy over time. Sometimes, water isn’t enough if one is excessively active and sweating. Some sports drinks can hydrate the body and put the electrolytes back into your system. REMEMBER that water should not be replaced by sports drinks. Make sure to drink enough water throughout the day.
Signs of dehydration. If you experience any of these signs of dehydration, drink water.
- Dry skin
- Passing less urine than normal / dark yellow urine
- Body cramping
- Dry mouth / extreme thirst
- Sunken eyes
Water will counteract dehydration in hot or humid weather. Drinking water helps lower your body temperature and replaces fluid you lose through sweating. Remember to drink water before you feel thirsty. If your urine is a clear color, you are drinking enough water. If not, drink more water. Here are other things you can do to prevent dehydration:
- Move active activities to the mornings or afternoons to avoid the sun in the middle of the day.
- Wear sunscreen and a hat. This will help shade your head, neck, ears and face from the sun and can prevent sunburns.
- Wear thin and lose clothing. This allows for airflow and allows sweat to evaporate quicker.
- Avoid dark clothing. Lighter colored clothing doesn’t absorb heat as much as dark clothing does.