As summer fun starts, think of your commissary to save on water, sports drinks

by Keith Desbois
Defense Commissary Agency

FORT LEE, Va. – Whether hiking your favorite nature trail or soaking up some rays pool-side, one important thing to remember is that you have to stay hydrated.

No matter the summer activity, your commissary can help you stay hydrated with its wide selection of thirst-quenching products, including Freedom’s Choice water, sports drinks and water flavoring. And staying hydrated begins with paying attention to thirst.

“If you are feeling thirsty, you are already dehydrated,” said Joanna Ward-Brown, who directs the Army Wellness Center at Fort Lee, Virginia. “I always advise my clients to carry water with them to remind them to stay hydrated.”

Some signs of dehydration include muscle cramps, headaches, excess sweating and a feeling of hunger which can be mistaken for thirst. If you develop any of these symptoms, seek shade, stop exercising, drink water or a sports drink and seek medical attention as soon as possible. Heat illness is an inherent risk when exercising in hot conditions and can affect even the best-conditioned athletes, according to an article from the American College of Sports Medicine.

By the way, you don’t have to be a gym rat or a workout warrior to pay attention to staying hydrated. Considering that the body is mostly water, it is imperative that you replenish that water throughout the day to stay healthy. Even if you are just relaxing on the beach, you are still losing water and need to remember to hydrate.

The recommended amount of water the average person needs daily is eight, eight-ounce glasses, Ward-Brown added.

When being extremely active during the summer months, sometimes your body will shed more vitamins, minerals and electrolytes than water alone can replenish.

For activity lasting more than an hour, Ward-Brown recommends supplementing your water intake with a sports drink. They are designed to replace crucial electrolytes and carbohydrates while hydrating at the same time.

For those who don’t drink as much water as recommended because it is bland, there are products that can flavor your water and make it more appealing. Just remember to read the label to be aware of sugar content and other ingredients as some contain caffeine.

Finally, try to stay away from beer and alcohol while enjoying the summer heat. If you do indulge in them, drink no more than one an hour and supplement with plenty of water in between.

Summer time is fun, and with a little planning and a trip to your commissary you can stock up on water and your favorite sports drinks to ensure you stay hydrated. While you’re at it, stop by the military exchange and pick up a new water bottle or personal filtration or hydration system to go with that cart-load of bottled water.

For more information on hydration, health and wellness, contact your local Army Wellness Center or service branch equivalent to get the latest on being fit and staying healthy. You can also check out the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website for tips on water and WebMD for information about fluids for sports and fitness.

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