How to stay hydrated in the extreme Houston heat

HOUSTON (KTRK) -- Houston, it is getting hot in here. Meteorologists expect heat indices to remain in the 100s throughout Thursday and the rest of the weekend. The extreme heat can prove intense on your body. Experts stress you must stay hydrated.

What exactly should you drink if you are out in the elements? Should you grab a water or a sports drink? Eyewitness News took those questions to the pros over at Memorial Hermann Ironman Sports Medicine Institute. Dietitian Brett Singer said what you reach for depends on your physical activity outside.

If your time is limited outside like walking to a bus or at the playground for 15 minutes, you should be okay with just water. If you plan to be outside for longer like an hour walk on the bayou, you need to go with a low calorie option containing electrolytes. Those drinks could be Propel or G2. If you plan on a strenuous workout or manual labor, you need to go with a sports drink like Gatorade or Powerade. Those drinks contain carbohydrates needed for energy and electrolytes need to absorb water.

"It's really crucial. We really don't want to be dehydrated. If you're starting to get dehydrated, that's when you're getting nauseous perhaps headaches. If you're feeling awful, then you're not going to be doing your job effectively," said Singer. "There are other things that can help with hydration. We've got fruits, lettuce, grapes, and bell peppers here. They've all got a really high water content."

Singer also stressed the importance of adjusting to extreme heat. Take for instance a high school football player who may have spent most of the summer inside the house. If practice is resuming soon, they need to give their body a 10 to 14 day adjustment period.

Singer explained the same is true for anyone both adults and children. He suggested going out every day during that period in small intervals, like 30 minutes, to provide the readjustment.

A tell-tale sign of dehydration can be water weight loss. Experts said weigh yourself before and after any exercise. For every pound lost, they suggest drinking 20 to 24 ounces of fluid.

Also, alcohol is a huge diuretic meaning the more you drink, the more fluid is flushed out of your system. If you can't or won't avoid alcohol altogether before any time in the sun, make sure you're hydrating with low-calorie fluids containing electrolytes.
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