Health & fitness: Keep cool while the heat’s on

Health & fitness blog: Keep cool

Photography by Gypsy Westwood

James Davis, co-owner of Ibiza gym, health club and spa M Wellness plus an all-round guru when it comes to health,  fitness and wellbeing continues his series of weekly blogs on how to improve your lifestyle.

It may only be July but here in Ibiza, we’re already experiencing temperatures we’d normally see (and more importantly, feel!) in August. With the mercury sweating out of the top of the thermometer it’s really easy for energy levels to flag, thus even more important to keep hydrated. Especially if you’re exercising, and yes, that includes dancing around Ushuaia’s pool!

The feelings of lethargy you may experience in hot weather are not down purely to the heat, but rather your body’s response to it. When you’re sweating, you’re not just losing water, but also essential salts and minerals. When these run low your body struggles for energy, hence the feelings of torpor that can result from even moderate exposure to the temperatures we’re getting now.

If you’re exercising or performing any kind of strenuous activity then you’re going to be sweating even more and it’s vital to replace the fluid your losing. At the bare minimum you should be drinking at least 1.5 litres of water a day for ordinary function; in a hot climate, at least 2.5 litres, and if you’re exercising regularly in the heat for say, 45 minutes, then up to 4 litres of water is needed.

That sounds like a lot, but you’re losing equal amounts through sweat and the majority of your body is composed of the lovely H2O, which is why you start to feel so terrible when you dehydrate. As a general rule of thumb, if you’re thirsty, then you are already dehydrated, if you’re thirsty and have a headache (the classic hangover symptom), then you are probably very dehydrated.

The key is to take fluids on board through the day with lots of sips. Think of it as topping up the tank regularly rather than filling it when empty. A good tip is to carry a water bottle with you and track how much you drink. Definitely don’t try and get your ‘litre plus’ all at once. Your body can’t process it and you’ll be off to the bathroom in no time.

Sadly, while that cold beer might look tempting, alcohol doesn’t count and actually worsens the effects of dehydration. Opinion is divided on caffeinated drinks like tea and coffee, so water on its own is by far the best choice, with the occasional fruit juice to boost your sugar and mineral levels. So, get drinking, your body will thank you!