Stay well hydrated to prevent heat problems

The movie Wild Hogs has been a big deal in my house since my father and my husband took off on their motorcycles, leathers and all, to Key West, Fla., last week. My husband was having yet another midlife crisis, and my father, a late-life crisis.


I digress. Back to the movie.

One of my favorite scenes is when they've come to Madrid after being stranded in the desert. Out of gas and water.

Their only company is a lingering vulture awaiting their imminent demise from exposure.

They enter the town after pushing the motorcycles for miles severely parched, dehydrated, delusional and delirious.

They charge into the nearest cafe, grab the bar mixer dispenser and begin spraying water into their mouths, lapping like a dog chasing a sprinkler head.

My kids thought this was funny. I'm thinking of a 10-mile run in Hitchcock Woods last summer when I ran out of water. That wasn't so funny.

Hydration is a hot topic in the South, especially during the summer. How much is enough? By the time you're thirsty, you've already lost 2 to 3 percent of your body weight, so don't wait until you are thirsty to grab a water bottle.

Dehydration will slow your recovery time if you're playing sports or exercising. Even mild dehydration will slow your metabolism if you're trying to lose weight.

There are several schools of thought on exactly how much is enough. I've read everything from four glasses to eight to 10 glasses a day -- to half your body weight in ounces.

Some claim that studies prove that juice, caffeinated beverages, sodas and alcoholic beverages don't dehydrate you and you can count them as fluid intake.

I have heard testimonials and talked with many people who quit the sodas and alcohol and felt 100 percent better. They also lost weight and had more energy and better skin tone.

Here are a few tips to determine whether you're properly hydrated:

- Your urine is light in color.

- You have saliva.

- The skin on the back of your hand bounces back after pinching it.

- You are not thirsty.

- You have moist eyes and can cry.

Personally, I'm sticking with eight to 10 glasses per day, and more if I'm exercising.

Lori Comshaw is a personal trainer in Aiken.