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NIFS Healthy Living Blog

10 Tips to Stay Cool and Hydrated this Summer!

GettyImages-669861852Summer brings longer days and plenty of sunshine, perfect for outdoor activities and adventures. However, the heat can also lead to dehydration. Here are some essential hydration tips to keep you cool and refreshed all summer long:

1. Drink Plenty of Water - during the hot summer months, especially when engaging in physical activity it's important to increase your water intake. Strive for at least 8 glasses of water daily. Carry a reusable water bottle throughout the day to remind yourself to hydrate.

2. Eat Hydrating Foods - incorporate fruits and vegetables into your diet that are rich with water such as cucumbers, watermelon, strawberries, and oranges. These foods not only provide hydration but are also provide essential vitamins and minerals.
3. Infuse Your Water - water can be boring, add flavor by infusing with fresh fruits, herbs, or vegetables. Combinations like lemon and mint, or cucumber and lime make for great flavors. Make a pitcher to have on hand and fill your glass throughout the day to stay hydrated.

4. Monitor Your Urine Color - light yellow to clear urine will typically indicate proper hydration. If you notice a darker color, that's a good indication you need to increase your water intake. 
5. Avoid Excessive Caffeine and Alcohol - limit your intake of caffeine and alcohol during extreme temperatures. If you do choose to consume these beverages, be sure to create balance and drink water as well. 
6. Drink Electrolyte-Rich Beverages - when exercising or exerting energy you lose electrolytes. Incorporate coconut water or sports drinks to replace lost electrolytes. Be mindful of your choices as some options contain more sugar than others, opt for choices with lower sugar levels.
7. Schedule Outdoor Activities Wisely - plan accordingly when heading outdoors. Early mornings or late afternoon might be the best options to avoid that mid-day heat! If you are outdoors, be sure to take frequent breaks, seek shade and have your water on hand.
8. Wear Lightweight, Breathable Clothing - your clothing choices can help keep you cool in the heat. Choose breathable fabrics like cotton to help allow your skin to breathe. Wearing sunglasses and a wide-brimmed hat can help provide you relief from the sun and reduce risk of overheating.

9. Listen to Your Body - don't wait until you are thirsty to drink water. Listen to your body and pay attention to the signs of dehydration such as dizziness, headache, fatigue and dry mouth. If you experience any of these take steps to rehydrate.

10. Stay Cool Indoors - take cool showers to help lower your body temperature if you start to feel overheated. Cool off in air conditioning or with a fan, especially on excessively hot days. 

These tips can help you enjoy a fun and active summer while staying hydrated. Remember, hydration is key to keeping your body functioning properly, especially in the heat. 

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Topics: summer hydration outdoor exercise heat

The Balancing Act: Why You Can't Always Be in a Caloric Deficit

GettyImages-1423997728 (1)In the realm of fitness and nutrition, the term "caloric deficit" often takes center stage. But what exactly does it mean, and why would someone actively pursue it? Let's break it down.

A caloric deficit occurs when you consume fewer calories than your body expends in a day. It's commonly sought after for weight loss purposes, as it forces your body to tap into stored fat for energy, leading to shedding unwanted pounds. For individuals engaging in strength training,
cardio exercises, or participating in endurance events like marathons, maintaining a caloric
deficit might seem like the golden ticket to reaching their fitness goals.

However, here's the catch: while a caloric deficit can indeed lead to weight loss and improved
body composition, it's not sustainable or beneficial in the long term to always remain in this

Why? Because our bodies are incredibly smart and adaptive machines. When faced with a
prolonged caloric deficit, they adjust their metabolism and hormone levels to conserve energy,
making weight loss plateau and potentially causing negative side effects such as fatigue, muscle
loss, and decreased performance in physical activities.

Moreover, for individuals who are already physically active, being in a constant caloric deficit
can hinder recovery and impair muscle growth. Strength training and intense cardio sessions
create a demand for additional calories to repair tissues, replenish glycogen stores, and support
overall recovery. Without an adequate supply of nutrients, the body struggles to repair and
rebuild, leading to stagnation in progress and increased risk of injury.

So, what's the solution? While periodic caloric deficits can be a useful tool for achieving weight
loss goals, it's essential to balance them with periods of maintenance or even surplus calories,
especially for those engaged in rigorous physical activity. Introducing more calories strategically
during times of increased training volume or intensity can support performance, enhance
recovery, and promote overall well-being.

In conclusion, while a caloric deficit has its time and place in a well-rounded fitness regimen, it's
crucial to recognize that it's not sustainable or beneficial for everyone to always remain in this
state. By understanding the importance of balance and periodically integrating more calories
when needed, individuals can optimize their performance, achieve their fitness goals, and
maintain a healthy relationship with food and exercise.

If you're curious about how to implement these principles into your nutrition plan or have any
lingering questions, click below to learn more about opportunities for personalized guidance and support.

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Topics: nutrition healthy eating registered dietitian