Active Quiroprática, Chiropractic Clinic
serving Lagoa Carvoeiro Portimão Silves Porches Lagos Monchique, Algarve, Portugal
Dr. Christopher Bock

USA reg. Dr of Chiropractic / Chiropractor

(+351) 966 706 606

Home / Meet the Doctor / Conditions / Treatments / Success Stories / Blog / Contact

Dr. Bock's Blog...

The Algarve.... What I live in a Desert?
Water...Isn't it just for swimming?

The Algarve is only 600km from the Sahara, the world's largest sub-arctic desert. We all know that southern Portugal is quite warm much of the year (one of the reasons most of us live here!), and it can get very hot in July and August. Sometimes the temperature can reach over 40 Celsius (104 F). To our bodies, during June, July, August and September the Algarve is what I call a "functional" tropical desert. During these times, the area we live in acts just like any other true desert (being quite hot, dry and free of any trickling little streams) and we can get baked and dried out.

It is easy for us to get lulled into not thinking about water other than as something to plunge into to cool off, sit beside on a sandy beach, or just a quick rinse of the dishes. We've all heard that our bodies are made up of 80% or more of water. Research has shown that "thirst" is a rather poor indicator of dehydration. Having lived in California, and done much traveling in the heat of four deserts of Arizona and Death Valley (the lowest land point on Earth), experience teaches that our bodies require more water than we think-- and we are dehydrated long before we are thirsty! 

Often we won't recognize the signs of dehydration in ourselves, it is those around us who see we are getting a wee bit crabby, irritable and/or confused. We may notice a headache, being light-headed or dizziness, muscular aches and pains, being thirsty, and of course the best sign... dark urine.

Some things that contribute to us being low on hydration: dry air, being outside, eating meat (protein takes a lot of water to metabolize), alcohol/coffee/caffeine consumption, sodas, smoking, some medicines (diuretics, anti-histamines, anti-inflammatories), our activity levels, and of course just not being in the habit of drinking water. 

Three easy ways to judge your water needs:

1) Urine output. We should visit the restroom (WC) every couple of hours (if it isn't going out, not enough is going in).

2) Urine color. Should be colorless or nearly clear. As we dehydrate the kidneys begin to concentrate fluids and the color gets darker.

3) Pinch your hand. Pinch the skin on the back of your hand and the skin should immediately drop back flat. If it doesn't, instead "tents" up, then you're low a liter or more.

So how much water do we need to drink.... well, that depends.  We are all different and have different needs. If you lounge inside all day, no alcoholic beverages, with the nice cool air conditioner on, you still are subjected to the dry outside air flowing in and the drying effect of your AC unit, but you might get along with only 1 liter per day. If you're walking the golf course in the mid-day sun ("mad dog"!) you may need 3-4 liters. If you're driving on the A2 to Lisboa, and your car breaks down in a desolate stretch of the Alentejo on a day when the airtemp is in the mid-40's, the road surface could be as much as 82C (180F). Sitting in that kind of heat for a couple of hours while waiting for help you might need 4-6 liters to not succumb to a severe heat injury (which we'll talk about in a bit).

Strategies/Ways to stay "cool" and hydrated.

Staying Hydrated and Cool = Staying Alive

Pre-Hydrate One of the most important things you can do is drink plenty of water before leaving the house or work. Your stomach is your best water bottle.

Bring water with you when you are out and about, best to have it with you, rather than trying to find it when you are getting thirsty. During the summer keep 5 or 6- liter water bottles in the trunk of our car, just for emergencies. (you never know, your car may suddenly need a "drink" too!). Why 5 or 6 individual liter bottles? Two reasons: 1) you can open only what you need, saving the rest for later, 2) If, somehow, your water bottle gets a puncture, you will only lose one liter of water, not your entire supply.

Sip all day long. Generally we need about 1-2 liters/day. Much easier to stay hydrated, than trying to catch up and recover

Wear Cotton. Cotton is "cool", since it retains a little bit of humidity, as it dries it cools us. Oddly enough, staying clothed reduces our sweat output. Why? It keeps the wind from quickly wicking the moisture off of our skin, which our body then has to replace at a faster rate = water loss. Think desert dwellers... you don't see them running around in shorts and tiny shirts.

Pace yourself. Slow down in the heat of the day. Water is our "coolant", if you're not pushing your body's engine too high, it won't have to struggle to remain cool. As your body works harder, it heats up, so we perspire more and breathe faster (think losing water) to stay cool. If you like to exercise, possibly workout in the cooler hours of the day.

Decrease Sun exposure. Wear a hat to keep your head shaded. Our brain uses 25% of our blood, so it really pays to keep our head cool. Just for car emergencies, store that beach umbrella in the car; if you break down somewhere it's nice to have instant shade, and much cooler than boiling yourself in a hot car. Tip... don't use a black umbrella.

Children. If you have kids, all of this is critical, smaller bodies = quicker to dry out, and it's difficult for them to self-diagnose. Sometimes they get bored with plain water, so add 100% fruit juices, make fruit juice frozen popsicles, etc. However, if they see you pre-hydrating, chances are they will too! Please read Part 2, so you can be watchful of symptoms of heat injuries which kids may be developing but are not telling you about.

In Part 2 we'll talk about over-heating and heat related injuries that can happen very quickly.  Also another clever way to beat the heat.

Stay Cool, 
Dr Bock

return to main Blog page

(+351) 966 706 606

Home / Meet the Doctor / Conditions / Treatments / Success Stories / Blog / Contact/ Index / facebook

Active Quiroprática, Chiropractic Clinic
Dr. Christopher Bock
















































































Centrally Centro located Chiropractic Physiotherapy Quiropratica Quiropratico in Lagoa, Algarve, Portugal
Formerly associated with Lutz Quiropratica Quiropratico, 2013 and 2014