There’s one topic of importance that cannot be stressed enough – for all of us, but especially as we age – and that’s hydration.
A human being is mostly made up of water. On average, water constitutes 60 percent of the total weight of our body, going up to 83 per cent in our blood. Nearly 2/3 of the water is present inside our cells, and 1/3 outside them.
Water’s essential for the maintenance of several functions such as the transportation of nutrients and hormones and the elimination of waste produced by our cells. It ensures the regulation of our body temperature – its evaporation in the form of perspiration, (sweat) from the surface of our skin, enables us to dissipate excess body heat and cool down.
How Much Water Should We Consume?
The definitive official recommendations on water requirements, published in 2010 by the EFSA – European Food Safety Authority, estimated that men should drink around two litres per day and women 1.6 litres. As we all know, failing to maintain adequate hydration can lead to physical issues almost immediately.
What Are the Symptoms of Dehydration?
- Feeling very thirsty
- Dry mouth
- Urinating and sweating less than usual
- Dark-coloured urine
- Dry skin
- Sleepiness, lack of energy, confusion or irritability
How Do You Know If You’re Well Hydrated?
Look at your urine. That’s right. A good indicator of the level of your hydration can be done simply by looking at the colour of your urine. Pale yellow means optimal hydration. On the other hand, darker urine means that you may not be drinking enough water or other fluids. The darker the urine, the higher the likelihood of dehydration! Note that urine colour can also be influenced by diet or medication. According to Healthline:
- As people age, we need to drink more water to compensate for changes in our body temperature regulation.
- Dehydration can cause several ailments, including muscle pain, headaches, fatigue, constipation and heat exhaustion.
- Older adults should drink water even when they aren’t thirsty and to limit the consumption of beverages such as sodas, coffee, and alcohol, all of which cause dehydration.
- It’s equally important to drink lots of water no matter whether it’s hot or cold outside. Heat is usually associated with dehydration, but extreme cold or high altitude can also cause us to become dehydrated.
Some Tips for Staying Hydrated
- Start your day with a large glass of water.
- Bring a bottle of water with you wherever you go – drink some every hour or sip constantly on it.
- Eat your water. Watermelon, cucumber, strawberries, iceberg/romaine lettuce, tomatoes, bok choy are just a few examples.
Let’s face it, no matter your age, but especially as we get older, we all need to drink more water, more often. Simple as that.