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As the weather is getting warmer and nicer outside, summer cleaning and yard work are on the to do list. It is exrtremely important to pay attention to your body if you have had a relatively sedentary winter and spring.  Dehydration can occur when as little as 3% body weight is lost in fluids and results in an emergency medical situation. Listen to your body when it says it is tired. Do not push yourself too far and risk injury. To make the most ouf of time, and to treat your body the right way, follow these fluida and food guidelines.

If you are performing strenous activity, regardless if inside or outside, it is important to stay hydrated. With mild hydration, symptoms may include headaches, light headedness, fatigue and of course thirst.  The main way to present deyhydration is to treat it before it even begins. Before you start any yard work, make sure you have a glass of water even if you are not thirsty. This will ensure your body starts with an adequate amount of fluids and can afford to lose some through sweat. If you are in a hot or humid environment, remember to drink fluid at least every 30 minutes or less to maintain your fluid levels.  The longer you are being physically active, the more this is important. You may only neeed one cup per hour, but it depends upon how much you are sweating and how hot/humid it is.  It may be hard to remember to drink something, but make it a priority to stop for a couple seconds and have a sip of your drink. After you finish your cleaning projects, try to have some more fluids to replace any that you lost. Just about any beverage can be used including water, lemonade, or sports drinks. Try to avoid any drinks with caffeine. Caffeine acts as a diuretic and increases fluid loss through the urine.

Beyond fluids, energy is needed to perform work. Try to have a nice meal before you begin working to provide your body with calories. A light meal can be used to prevent any stomach or GI problems. It just needs to have some carbohydrates (your main source of energy) and a little protein to repair your muscles. If you will be physically active for more than one hour, it may be necessary to have a snack while you work. This can be very small and can be as little as 100 calories or less. Some snack ideas are a granola bar, string cheese, yogurt, crackers and peanut butter or a piece of fruit. This snack will give your body some extra calories so you don’t fatigue as fast.

The best way to be prepared for your summer cleaning is to fuel up before you begin. Ensuring you are at adequate fluid levels, and have eaten within the last couple hours will help you to last longer. Also, don’t force yourself too far. It is the beginning of a long summer and you don’t need to start with an injury. By listening to your body, you can prevent dehydration, have more energy for your muscles and prevent injuries.

Writter: Susan Zies, Ohio State Univeristy Extension, Family & Consumer Sciences Educator, Wood County.

Information gathered from:

Mayo Clinic. (August 2, 2011). Dehydration: Symptoms. Retrieved from http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/dehydration/DS00561/DSECTION=symptoms

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