A common challenge during summer is training in hotter, humid conditions making us sweat more and increasing our body temperature. This can lead to dehydration, potentially affecting our performance and mental functioning as blood flow is diverted from our muscles and brain to cooling our skin, especially if we don’t replenish what is lost.
During exercise, we need approximately 600ml – 1litre of water for every hour of training with the amount varying depending on your body size, gender, how much you sweat, the temperature, humidity levels and more. If you are planning on a long run, it’s a good idea to carry some water with you and sip regularly, chose a route that includes known water stops, or where you can leave a bottle of water safely to come back to during your run.
Water is needed to support your body to function properly making it essential to have adequate hydration at all times, not just during or after training. For example, our body needs water to metabolise the food we consume for energy and even a mild dehydration can slow down our metabolism – not helpful if you are looking to lose weight or to ensure optimal performance. An adequate fluid intake is also important for optimal gut health and assists with motility and regularity. A good indication of your hydration levels is to check your urine colour often – very pale urine indicates over hydration so drink less and a dark yellow colour is more indicative of dehydration so need to increase your fluid intake (keep in mind some vitamin and mineral supplements may change urine colour).
Water, teas and foods all contribute to our fluid levels. Below is a list of some of the delicious and healthy hydrating foods that really help to replenish fluid post exercise. Remember too that some foods and beverages can be dehydrating such as caffeinated beverages like coffee and cola softdrinks, so best to consume in moderation (or not at all in the case of cola softdrinks!)
The best hydrating foods include:
· Iceberg lettuce
· Rockmelon and honeydew melon
Plus apples, oranges, pears, carrots, pineapple, broccoli (cooked) are great options to include in your meals. Salads and chilled soups are a must during the summer months, and below is one of my favourite hydrating salads – light, refreshing and tasty – works well on its own or as an accompaniment to a BBQ.
RECIPE – WATERMELON, CUCUMBER + FETA SALAD
Serves 2 | Preparation time 10mins
o 2.5 cups watermelon, chopped into bite size pieces
o 120g feta, crumbled
o 1 cucumber, peeled into ribbons
o Handful of rocket
o 2 tablespoons of pepitas
o Dressing – 1.5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil mixed with 1.5 tablespoons white wine vinegar
o Combine ingredients in a large bowl, add dressing and toss through salad before serving