We’ve been hearing a lot about hydration in that past few years; hydration, pre-hydration, re-hydration; what to do and what not to do. Even so, it’s astonishing how many of us feel tired or head-achy, who think less clearly and work less efficiently because we simply don’t get enough water. In this hot weather it becomes even more important but even if you are inside in the cool, air conditioning systems can dry you out, just as central heating can in colder months.
If you want to stay hydrated it just takes developing a habit of drinking regularly and, contrary to what many ads will tell you about electrolytes and so on, water is still the best way to get your system hydrated. It can take a while to get yourself into a habit but what if the habit you need to form is for some one else, your kids for example?
Juices and smoothies can be a good source of water and, technically, fizzy drinks are too but they all come with problems with children getting too much sugar and, in the case of fizzy drinks, all other manner of chemicals like caffeine. Aside from that, sugary drinks are absorbed less quickly! It has been suggested that most kids don’t really like water, but again, that’s as much habit as anything else and you can always add some juice to water to be carried around and sipped regularly. Low-fat milk is also great for kids at mealtimes; they need the calcium and other minerals as well as water.
Kids are more prone to dehydration than adults because of their body size and downing a whole bottle of water in one go won’t be of much use because their bodies can only take in so much at any one time. They should either sip as they go or drink about 150ml every twenty minutes or so in hot weather or when exercising (this is about ten kid-sized gulps).
When you’re around your kids all day, it’s easier to get them to drink regularly but if your children are attending something like a sports or activity camp over the summer, it’s a good idea to ask about the camp’s hydration policy. Will you need to provide water or other drinks? Will there be a safe refill point for your kids’ water bottles on site every day? Remember that about 25% of our liquids come from food so high water-content fruits should be a part of their snacks or lunch and this is where smoothies can be a great bonus as both nutritious and a treat.
Finally, it’s also important not to go over-board with hydration. Too much water will usually trigger a hormone reaction that stops water being absorbed but it is also possible to end up getting ‘water intoxication’, which means flushing essential salts out of the body. Everything in moderation. Enjoy the weather, and stay safe and well!