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Summer Gets Hot – Hydrate to Stay Safe

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By Robert L. Herron, Ed.D. and Manuel Munoz II |

As the summer continues, it is particularly important to remember to stay hydrated. Evidence shows that over half of Americans do not consume enough fluid to maintain proper hydration (euhydrated state). Being hydrated is very important as hydration status can affect a variety of bodily functions such as temperature regulation, joint lubrication, and cardiovascular function.

For those being physically active in the heat, hydration is vital for sustaining cardiovascular function and safety. Plasma, is comprised of over 90% of water, makes up over half of total blood volume. If you are hypohydrated then there is less water in the blood which requires the heart to work harder to keep blood circulating. This causes heart rate and blood pressure to increase which. Furthermore, prolonged periods of dehydration can cause endothelial dysfunction and damage vital organs such as kidneys. Having adequate plasma volume will allow for the heart to pump blood more efficiently.   

For those in the Northern hemisphere, this summer brings about temperature increases and people are engaging in more outdoor activities. Therefore, it is vital to be aware of the importance of staying hydrated for safety. When you sweat you lose a lot of water and in turn, blood plasma. When exercising or performing physical activity, be sure to replenish the fluids you lose from sweating.

Additionally, water is a large component of synovial fluid within a joint capsule that aids in reducing the amount of friction between bones and allows movement. However, if someone is hypohydrated then joint movement could cause more friction and potentially increase discomfort or pain to occur with movement at various articulations.

We wish to encourage everyone to consistently be mindful of their fluid intake – particularly in the summer when you are active outside. Some best practices include monitoring urine coloration, sensation of thirst, and how much you sweat throughout the day. Reach out to an exercise professional, dietitian, physical therapist, athletic trainer, or physician to help you better understand your individualized hydration needs in the heat.

Manuel Munoz II is a Senior undergraduate student at the University of Montevallo studying Exercise and Nutrition Science from Samson, AL. Manuel is a McNair Scholar and member of the Exercise Science Club at the University of Montevallo and has been recognized for being on the President’s List every year during his time at Montevallo.

Robert L. Herron, Ed.D., NSCA-CSCS*D, ACSM-CEP is an Assistant Professor in the Exercise and Nutrition Science Program at the University of Montevallo. Dr. Herron is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist® with distinction from the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA-CSCS*D®) and a Clinical Exercise Physiologist through the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM-CEP®). Dr. Herron is a graduate of the United States Sports Academy and serves as a Non-Resident Faculty Member.

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