The Importance of Proper Hydration in the Summer

Posted by Garrison Redd in Life After Paralysis on July 19, 2022 # Health, Lifestyle

As a person living with a spinal cord injury, you need to stay hydrated properly during the summer months. Unfortunately, most of us are sometimes reluctant to consume a lot of water or fluids due to our neurogenic bladders. I was injured 17 years ago, and since then, I have had numerous diets and have tried many ways of staying properly hydrated while trying to manage my bladder routine. I haven’t always been successful with accomplishing this goal of staying hydrated. However, I am currently at a point in life where I have a good routine and want to share it with the rest of the community.

The first step in staying hydrated is to understand your body and what a healthy urine color is. Healthy urine can vary in color – it can be between pale yellow, deep amber or gold. Now, if you are dehydrated, your urine color will usually change to a dark yellow. It is also possible to over hydrate, meaning you consumed too much water or fluids. The color of urine for overhydration is usually colorless. In the next few paragraphs, I will explain the importance of keeping hydrated year-round and even more important, in the summer.

As a paraplegic for 17 years, at first, I was hesitant to drink a lot of water due to my bladder incontinence. I didn’t want to straight cath 50 times a day (I do not cath 50 times a day; I am being sarcastic) and worry about getting a UTI. What I didn’t realize is that when you drink less water, you are at a greater risk of getting a UTI. So, for my first few summers, I was dehydrating myself, and the number of UTIs that I would get would increase.

From experience, overhydration can also cause significant problems. Some of the problems I experienced with overhydration was voiding every 15 minutes to the point I had to wear depends (like a diaper) because I was catheterizing myself for no reason. Another issue I was experiencing was muscle spasms because my bladder and kidneys worked harder than they should have. Also, because of the increased catheterizations, I was putting myself at risk of UTI, which I was trying to prevent.

So, I provided both ends of the spectrum, dehydration and overhydration. It is very important to find your balance; you can do that by paying close attention to urine color. Since your body is made up of about 60 percent water, we must properly replenish the water we lose. Some of the important reasons we need to be adequately hydrated as a person living with a spinal cord injury are it lubricates our joints, clears out our kidneys as well as prevents kidney stones, prevents constipation which makes our bowel routines easier, improves oxygen to our blood which will in return increase your energy, and countless other benefits.

In conclusion, I stress to everyone reading this to pay attention to your urine color and do your best to stay hydrated.

If you want to reach out to me, feel free to follow or message me if you have any questions in regard to living with a spinal cord injury. Instagram @garrisonredd and Facebook @garrisonredd.

My name is Garrison Redd. I am a T-12 paraplegic born and raised in Brooklyn, NY. I am searchable under Garrison Redd on YouTube or @GarrisonRedd on Instagram and Facebook. As well as you can visit my website

This post is purely educational for our community readers. The Reeve Foundation does not endorse these products. These opinions are that of the blogger.

The National Paralysis Resource Center website is supported by the Administration for Community Living (ACL), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as part of a financial assistance award totaling $8,700,000 with 100 percent funding by ACL/HHS. The contents are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official views of, nor an endorsement, by ACL/HHS, or the U.S. Government.