This is the third in a series of four articles in our Fall Into Better Health series.
Making up more than 60% of our body, water isn’t just an important part of staying healthy; it’s vital in keeping us alive. From properly balancing bodily fluids to kidney function, hydration keeps our body working the way it should be—which becomes increasingly more important as we age.
As adults, we experience a loss of over 80% water through normal or fairly regular activity, but what might be more surprising is that by age 65, dehydration is one of the most frequent causes of hospitalization. What are the causes of dehydration? Natural physiological changes are a major factor. Losing your sense of thirst, for example, can result in not drinking enough water. And as our appetites naturally decrease with age, so does the likelihood that we’re getting the right types of water-based fruits and vegetables. Medications also play a role as diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease can result in drugs that dehydrate our bodies in order to take effect.
The good news is that with a little mindful effort and some creativity, increasing your water intake can be a lot less daunting. Here are some easy ways you can start today.
Make it Easy
Drinking water is easier to do when you can make it more accessible and, perhaps, more exciting. Look for a fun tumbler or mug that you enjoy using. Do you prefer your water cold? Get yourself an insulated cup like Hydro Flask’s stainless steel water bottles that keeps your drinks chilled throughout the day without having to add ice. Whatever way you take your beverages, making sure you have a cup or bottle that’s easy to use or that makes you happy, can greatly increase your chances of picking it up, even when you’re not feeling thirsty.
Fill Up on Flavor
When you’re feeling thirsty, water may not be the first thirst-quenching or appealing beverage that comes to mind—but it’s certainly the best for you. So if you find yourself reaching for a glass of water less often, try adding a little bit of fruit or flavor to it. Water enhancements like Stur’s drink powders or Dasani drops are more popular than ever, and from water bottles to pitchers, infusing water with fruit is easy to make and take to-go.
Keep Your Cool
Getting outside is important, but higher temperatures can create a greater risk for dehydration, especially as regulating our body temperature gets harder to do with age. Whether you’re planning on being active or just relaxing while getting some sunshine, be sure to drink plenty of cold liquids and water so that you can stay healthy and hydrated while getting fresh air.
When thinking about water intake, staying hydrated may sound simple enough, but we often forget about other aspects of our diet or lifestyle that could be making it harder to do. Coffee, tea, and sodas with higher amounts of caffeine can act as a mild diuretic, causing you to expel additional sodium and water. Over-the-counter medications and prescription drugs are also something to watch out for as they can deplete you of water and electrolytes needed to stay properly hydrated. If you’re taking any medication, keep a close eye on the side effects associated with them and up your water intake to take the place of any you might be losing.
No matter your age, one thing is certain: Staying hydrated is easier than you might think, and it certainly doesn’t have to be boring. Use these tips to make sure you’re getting enough water and make sure you know the warning signs so you can address dehydration before it gets worse.
Looking for a good challenge*? We’re including one in every post of this four-part blog series so that you can start today!
*PART 3 CHALLENGE
Setting small goals is key to making progress of any kind, and when it comes to better hydration habits, tracking your intake is a great step in the right direction. So this week, pick a new water bottle or mug and set a goal to drink and refill your water a set number of times and increase your goal by one refill each day until you reach eight glasses (depending on the size of your glass of course). Keep yourself accountable by writing it down and make it more fun by challenging a friend!
Download the below article to learn the benefits of frozen home-delivered meals to help in recovery after a hospitalization.