Missoulians, Beat the Heat

Summertime in Missoula brings to mind a lot of wonderful activities: floating the river, paddle boarding, mountain biking, running the Missoula Marathon, hiking the pristine wilderness surrounding us in every direction, playing city league sports, walking or biking to the festivals in Caras Park or the Farmers market…the list could go on and on.

Another word that comes to mind is HOT! It seems more so in the past several years that Missoula summers are just plain HOT!

What does this mean for all of those wonderful activities listed earlier? Staying hydrating, proper warm ups and regular stretching become even more important if you want to avoid those nasty muscle cramps and strains that could sideline you for part of the summer.

A few helpful hints:
1. Drink enough water that you have to urinate every two to four hours.
2. If your urine is darker in color, you are not properly hydrated.
3. Quench your thirst, it is the first warning sign. If you listen to your thirst as a cue to drink water you will replace 60-70% of lost fluids.
4. Respond to thirst immediately with small amounts of water or sports drink, but don’t get so thirsty that you have to chug a whole water bottle.
5.  Sometimes your body can mistake thirst for hunger, so before you bite down on a juicy burger after your long day on the river, drink a tall glass of water!
6. Headaches are a common symptom warning you that dehydration is around the corner.
7. Hydration can come from a simple glass of water or foods with high water content:

For example, watermelon, cucumber, oatmeal, apples, cantaloupe, even meat! If you are participating in higher exertion activities such as soccer or ultimate frisbee, or just sweat a lot, sports drinks such as Gatorade are recommended to help hydrate and replenish lost electrolytes.

So get out and enjoy the Missoula summer, water bottle in hand!

by Leah Versteegen, MS, DPT

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