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The importance of hydration

By Senior Airman Lynsie Nichols | JBSA-Lackland Public Affaris | Aug. 7, 2014

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-LACKLAND, Texas — More than half the human body is made up of water, a necessity for proper function--a necessity so important that the body's survival depends on it.

Not only during the summer weather, but year round, it is important to make sure the body is getting an adequate amount of fluids. Inadequate consumption can lead to dehydration--a serious condition that can cause headaches, or even become life threatening and cause heat stroke.

Symptoms of dehydration may include, swollen feet, fatigue, loss of appetite and flushed skin.

To determine the right amount of water to consume, Byron Black, 559th Aerospace Medical Squadron health promotion manager, suggests taking bodyweight, dividing it in half and drinking that many ounces.

"When you participate in vigorous activity, you need to make sure to account for the water your body loses," Black said. "The best way to determine how much water you've lost is to weigh yourself before and after your workout, then drink eight to 16 ounces of water for every pound you lost."

An effective way to monitor hydration levels is to examine the color of the urine stream. Lighter shades mean the body is well hydrated and darker shades mean the body needs to intake more fluids or may even need to seek medical attention if symptoms of dehydration are present.

Another tip that can helpful ensure proper hydration is to dress appropriately for the warm weather.

"Many people think that by wearing heavy clothing in the summer helps with weight loss," Black said. "In all actuality, it hinders it."

According to the Eat Right website, wearing dark, heavy clothes causes body temperatures to rise and the production of more sweat. Wear light-colored, sweat-wicking clothing to stay cool and dry during outdoor activities.

"The amount you sweat does not relate to the intensity of your workout," Black said. "When you sweat, your body loses water, if your body loses even two percent water, there will be a 10 percent decrease in your performance."

For more information on proper hydration techniques, contact the Health and Wellness Center at Joint Base San Antonio- Lackland at 210-671-7480.