Tips for Hydration
Staying hydrated is an essential and often overlooked aspect of maintaining good health. As we age, it is even more important. Adults 60 and older are at greater risk for dehydration for a number of reasons, including natural drops in thirst levels and body composition changes. Older adults are also more likely to take diuretics and other medications that cause fluid loss in the body.
If you’re struggling to stay hydrated, here are some helpful tips:
- Drink at least 10 to 12 – 8-ounce glasses of water daily. Swap high sugar drinks for sparkling water or seltzer. Not only will you cut back on unnecessary sugar, but you’ll be adding to your water intake.
- Increasing the minimum intake by a couple of glasses is good insurance. Keep in mind that heavy perspiration can cause you to lose 12, 14, and even 16 glasses a day.
- Drink before you get thirsty. If you wait until you are thirsty, you are already slightly dehydrated. Check your urine. Some people check the color of their urine throughout the day to ensure it is clear or light-colored. Dark yellow urine may be a sign of dehydration for some.
- Have a “water plan.” Try to space water consumption throughout the day in order to keep your body’s internal temperature down. Use notifications or alarms as a reminder to drink fluids.
- Increase water consumption if you have a cold or the flu. Because cold and flu symptoms like runny noses and sweating, which often accompanies fever, increase the amount of water your body loses, dehydration might occur if your fluid intake is not increased to compensate.
- Focus on your body’s signals. Be mindful of whether your body is thirsty or hungry. Sometimes we overeat because we mistake thirst for hunger.
- Drink water before, during, and after physical activity.
- Set a goal and make it a challenge. A simple daily goal can help you stay motivated and work towards maintaining a healthy habit. Ask your friends to join in. Invest in a fun, fancy water bottle if needed.
WATER: A Job Description
- Transport nutrients
- Carries away waste
- Moistens eyes, mouth, nose
- Hydrates skin
- Ensures adequate blood volume
- Protects against heat exhaustion
- Helps medicine to the proper places in the body
- Decreased joint pain
- Weight loss/management
- Kidney stone prevention
- Fewer headaches
- Healthier heart