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Beat the Heat

Even in a summer paradise such as Sun Valley, recognizing fatigue is important. In the high-desert climes of south-central Idaho, fatigue can be a result of hard-hitting playtime, heat exhaustion and dehydration—especially. Mental and physical fatigue can be connected. When mentally fatigued, decision-making, perception, critical thinking, judgment and problem solving can be compromised.

When physically fatigued, your immunity can be at risk subjecting you to nasty summer colds and flu and straining and pulling muscles. Paying attention to reoccurring headaches, muscle weakness, low motivation and, even, irritability can be a symptom of fatigue.

Exercising and spending more time outdoors in the summer can leave you sweaty, hot and thirsty. And while it’s best not to wait till you actually feel that thirst to grab a drink, going back to the same water bottle can be a bit uninspiring according to Dr. Joseph Cilona, a licensed clinical psychologist, personal coach, author and nationally recognized psychology expert based in Manhattan.

“As a healthy eating dietitian, I probably shouldn’t say this, but water can get boring,” said Desiree Nielsen, a registered dietitian in Vancouver, B.C. “You need to figure out ways to jazz it up.”

She added there are easy ways to make plain old water more appealing. 

“It can be as simple as infusing water in the fridge with your favorite fruit, or even veggies,” Nielsen explained. “I find cucumber water incredibly refreshing and just that little bit of taste … really changes the way it hits your palate and [it] becomes far more enjoyable to drink a lot of it.”

Here are 4 tips to keep you hydrated in the heat:

1. Balance out the dehydrating beverages with extra water.
2. Choose fruits and vegetables with high water content.
3. Drink some coconut water.
4. Make yourself a custom blend of iced herbal tea with lots of ice.

If you get too thirsty, your body may misinterpret signs of thirst for being hungry, which will prompt you to eat, but if you’re not eating the right things, you won’t quench that thirst and you can also become quite fatigued.

“People forget that fruits and vegetables are a wonderful source of hydration,” Nielsen said. “Particularly melons, something like watermelon is 90 percent water. So by gravitating towards all those local sources of fruits and vegetables we have all summer long, you’re making food choices that will also contribute to your hydration.”

Nielsen said you can do simple things like blend watermelon and serve it as a drink. Or if you’re trying to keep kids hydrated, serve them a homemade dessert.

“They love eating ice pops to cool down,” she said. “You can take pureed fruit and blend them into ice pops. It’s another great way to hydrate but it feels like a treat for your kids.”