As you age, your body loses some of its abilities to properly regulate fluid levels and your sense of thirst may begin to diminish. This puts you at a higher risk for becoming dehydrated. It is important to stay hydrated throughout the day. Try to get at least 1.5 liters (6-8 cups) of water daily, which is advised for aging adults. Needs may vary depending on your medical history.
Why is it important to stay hydrated?
What most people do not realize is that your body depends on water to survive. Your body uses water to maintain its temperature, remove waste, and helps to keep your joints working.
How much water/fluid should you drink daily?
It is recommended that the average person consume 6-8, ounce cups of fluid daily. However, if you are doing rigorous physical activity or working outdoors in the heat, you may require more fluids. On the other hand, there is no one-size-fits-all answer. Water intake must be individualized, and you should check with your doctor if you are not sure about the right amount for you. In addition to water, fruit and vegetable juices, milk and herbal teas can help you stay hydrated.
If you do not consume enough water/fluid over time, you may become dehydrated. It is important to look out for the following signs:
- Little or no urine
- Urine is darker than normal
- Dry mouth
- Sleepiness or fatigue
- Extreme thirst
In extreme cases you could also experience headache, confusion, and dizziness or lightheadedness.
Tips to staying hydrated:
- Keep a bottle of water with you at all times.
- Drink water before, during, and after a workout or working outdoors.
- If your job is in an outdoor setting, keep a bottle of water near you and drink from it often.
- If you sweat a lot during workouts or on the job, sports drinks will help to not only help your body to absorb water, but also help to replace those electrolytes lost.
- Snack on fruits and vegetables with a high-water content, including watermelon, citrus fruit, tomatoes, zucchini, bell peppers, and salad greens.
- Drink water when you go to a restaurant. It will keep you hydrated, and it’s free.
- If you have trouble remembering to drink water, drink on a schedule. For example, drink water when you wake up, at breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and when you go to bed, or drink a small glass of water at the beginning of each hour.
- When you’re feeling hungry, drink water. Thirst is often confused with hunger. True hunger will not be satisfied by drinking water. Drinking water may also contribute to a healthy weight-loss plan. Some research suggests that drinking water can help you feel full.
- If you do not like the taste of plain water, try adding a slice of cucumber or lemon to your drink.
Infuse your water
Cucumber and Mint Infused Water
- 6 cups water
- 1 cucumber
- 8 mint leaves
- Water pitcher
- Slice cucumbers in thin slices and put cucumber slices and mint in water.
- Refrigerate for at least 4 hours overnight for optimal taste.
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(Shakera Williams, M.P.H. is Assistant Nutrition Extension Agent- FCS for Webster/Claiborne parishes. Contact her at (318) 371-1371.)