A man drinks water from a reusable bottle.

Hydrate for a healthy mile-high summer in Colorado

JUN 07, 2018
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Being out in the summer sun is delightful, but Colorado’s high-altitude heat can’t be ignored. The higher the altitude the thinner the air, which means that no matter what you’re doing your body has to work harder — making dehydration even more of a risk in the hot summer months. So one of the easiest ways to enjoy a safe and healthy summer is to make sure you get enough water.


Follow these 3 tips to make sure you’re getting the fluids your body needs.


Drink up


You’ve probably heard the recommendation to drink 8 glasses of water per day. Kaiser Permanente registered dietitian Sue Heikkinen says this rule of thumb doesn’t fit for everybody — especially athletes (who may need more) and people who have kidney disease or heart failure (who may need less). But if you’re not sure what amount would be exactly right for you, 8 glasses a day is generally a safe bet.


If you don’t find water appealing enough to drink 8 glasses, Heikkinen offers these tips:


  • Keep it chilled. Water tastes better when it’s cold.
  • Keep it handy. Slip a reusable water bottle into your purse or car.
  • Keep it interesting. Try flavored or sparkling water, or squeeze in a little lemon or lime.

Fill up on fruits and veggies


Water-rich fruits and vegetables can account for 20% of the body’s daily hydration needs. Iceberg lettuce, for example, is 96% water, while celery, tomatoes, watermelon, citrus fruits, and broccoli are around 90% water.


“In addition to helping hydrate the body,” Heikkinen says, “these foods offer antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals that promote health.”


Rethink what you drink


Hot summer weather can make sugary drinks extra tempting, but they’re likely to leave you feeling sluggish in the heat — or even nauseated. Not only that, they can also add a large number of extra calories to your daily diet.


“For someone looking to cut calories, liquid calories are the first place to start,” Heikkinen says, suggesting a few simple tips.


  • Dilute juice with water. You keep much of the flavor without all the calories.
  • Replace at least one sugary drink a day with water. This can cut up to 240 calories!
  • Save sports drinks for serious workouts. Water is fine for moderate activities less than an hour.

Don’t forget about the sun


Getting enough water goes a long way toward summer health. But dehydration happens faster in the sun, especially at high altitudes. Not only that, but serious sunburns can lead to sun poisoning symptoms like nausea, dizziness, and headaches.


You can boost your recovery from sun poisoning and sunburn by drinking extra fluids — proper hydration is great for headaches, and crucial when nausea hits. Plus it’s great for your skin. But you can help your body further by practicing basic sun protection.


Kaiser Permanente Colorado dermatologist Dr. Michelle Draznin says, “The key elements of sun safety are sunscreen, protective clothing, and limiting midday time in the sun.”


By employing these simple habits along with proper hydration, you and your family will be able to enjoy a safe, healthy summer — no matter how high you go.


Learn more


For more ideas on how to increase your water intake, check out for healthy tips and resources.


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