Hang up your woollens people, Summer is nearly here! Which means days spending time outdoors, at the beach and lots of long walks and bike rides with the kids and the dog. The days are longer, the nights are warmer and the legs are smoother!
We’re also thirstier – and no, I don’t mean for wine! Summer is the most important time to keep our fluids up but it can also be the most difficult. The warmer weather sees us doing far more and if we’re not careful it is easy to drop the ball on keeping yourself and your kids hydrated.
Keeping your body hydrated in any season helps to keep you healthy! It’s important for your digestion, circulation, nutrient absorption and excretion. Good hydration helps the heart pump blood through the vessels and into your muscles more easily. This will help your muscles work more efficiently and give you the edge when chasing after playing with your kids and all of the other activities that you do each and every day. Like carrying the shopping bags [all in one trip!] or mowing the lawn. But remember, hydration isn’t just important when you are participating in physical activity. Just being in the heat can cause your body to need more fluids.
WATER IS BEST
Did you know that our bodies are made up of 50-60% water? For most people, water is the best thing to drink to stay hydrated. But if you’re not a big water drinker, there ARE other sources of water that can help contribute to good hydration such as some fruits and vegetables which contain a high percentage of water.
Can drinking large amounts of water improve your skin’s appearance?
Although it’s difficult to find studies to support this claim, the fact is… our skin is an organ, and just like any other part of the body our skin is made up of cells. Our skin cells are made up of water (like any other cells in our body) Without water our organs will not function properly – or function at their best. So, it makes sense that if you want your skin to function at its best – which I guess would translate to be supple, glow and relatively blemish-free – then drinking water will give you the best opportunity to achieve this.
So, avoid the sports drinks, fizzy drinks, cordial and soft drinks, which are all high in added sugar. If you feel like a sweet drink, a small glass of fruit or vegetable juice can do the trick!
HOW MUCH WATER DO YOU NEED?
What does being well hydrated mean? The amount of water each person needs depends on the weather, the clothing they are wearing, if they are being active and other activities that they might participate in. If you perspire heavily, you should drink more water than someone who doesn’t. Other things to consider are your general health, for example having diabetes or heart disease may mean you need to drink more water, and some medications can cause your body to lose more fluid.
If you’re still not sure then check your wee! Seriously. We often think that our ‘thirst’ is the best indicator that we need more fluids but it’s not. The easiest thing to do is to pay attention to the colour of your urine… pale and clear means you’re well hydrated… dark means DRINK MORE WATER.
KEEP THE KIDS HYDRATED
Not all fluids are the same! Don’t fall into the trap of replacing of water for soft drinks, fruit drinks, cordial, flavoured mineral waters, sports drinks, energy drinks and fruit juice. Yes, they all contain water but they also contain sugar and sometimes even caffeine! To avoid tooth decay and possible weight gain, it’s a good idea to limit sweet drinks – and give your kids plain tap water instead. Tap water is cheap, and is good for your kids’ teeth. Some tap water has added fluoride and this helps to prevent tooth decay.
WHAT ELSE COULD KIDS DRINK?
From 12 months of age offer your kids milk. Plain milk provides the calcium they need for healthy bones and teeth.
Here’s some tips to help keep your kids hydrated:
- Provide water or milk with all meals and snacks.
- Always have a jug of fresh tap water on the bench.
- Teach kids to help themselves to water, but to ask for other drinks.
- Add ice or straws to the water for crunch and fun.
- Buy refillable water bottles for your kids to take to school.
- Pack water for outings so you don’t need to buy drinks.
- Reduce temptation by not having sugary drinks in the house, except for special occasions.
- As a family, plan what you’ll do with all the money you save.
- Keep trying – changes take time, but the health of your children is a great reward.
- And one last thing… you can help to influence your kids’ water intake by being a good role model and drinking plenty of water too!