The Importance of Staying Hydrated

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Knoxville (WVLT) - We might not be breaking any record high temperatures, but try telling that to anyone spending any amount of time outdoors today, and it is so easy to get dehydrated.

Here in the south, our drink of choice is iced tea.

It's not a bad option, much better than alcohol, but there are things you can do to make it even better for you.

Medical experts recommend making a syrup that's half sugar and half water.

Boil it until it's clear, and then let it cool.

Use this instead of granulated sugar that falls to the bottom and you'll use less.

Also consider using a low calorie sweetener or green tea, which contains antioxidants.

Though, water is the best option -- bottle, filter or tap.

But if that's gotten boring try a pitcher with cut lemons.

A full sugar soda is a poor summer choice, it contains about 16 teaspoons of sugar, and sugar just makes you thirstier.

In terms of sugar, salt and empty calories, alcohol is your worst option, and it increases your risk for dehydration.

Your body can quickly overheat, especially during exercise.

When you exercise outdoors, you need to be aware of increases in heat and humidity.

Our bodies are typically 98.6 degrees, and that's typically warmer than our environment.

But when that changes, our muscles regulate heat by releasing sweat, which allows the body to cool itself.

When the body is sweating, it's losing fluid.

And heat exhaustion and heat stroke occur when the body can no longer sustain the pace, heat, humidity or loss of fluid.

The body cools off by sweating, so as long as you remain hydrated, you're body will be able to cool itself off.

If you want to try to continue working out outside during this extreme heat, it's better to exercise when it's cooler, such as the early morning or evening.

When it comes to summer exercise, the biggest concern is hydration.

You lose 2 and a half cups of water per pound of body weight lost. To maintain good hydration, drink 20 ounces of water two hours before exercise, at least eight ounces of water shortly before, and then at least one drink every 15 to 20 minutes during exercise.

To stay better hydrated, drink fluids with food throughout the day.

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