Aging is a natural process and you can’t prevent its happening, but with proper planning and care you can age gracefully. In fact, you can experience more happiness, more success and get even better with age and experience. Taking care of your mind, body, and health is important for graceful aging and there are many strategies that can help older adults improve their health and overall quality of life. One such strategy is hydrating your body with proper water intake.
So, how does water intake ensure aging gracefully?
Hydration is vital for people of any age, especially for senior people, as they often lose their appetite for water with aging. Our bodies run on water, that is, our bodies are 50-60% water, so it’s important to stay hydrated. Most nutritionists recommend drinking at least half your weight in ounces of water a day. For example, a 150-pound person should drink at least 75 ounces of water a day.
Here are a few reasons why seniors need to stay hydrated:
- Avoid dehydration: As mentioned before, the sensation of thirst reduces as you age, which means seniors are less likely to realize when they’re thirsty. Seniors face an increased risk of dehydration and have to stay extra vigilant about their water intake. With proper water intake, seniors can avoid dehydration and also reduce their thirst.
- Improves metabolism: It is important for seniors to stay vigilant about hydration because they metabolize water differently from younger individuals. While younger adults have the ability to regulate water balance, seniors often compromise on their water turnover.
- Enhances brain function: As the body and brain are mainly comprised of water, staying hydrated is important for mental function. Cognitive function is enhanced when the brain cells receive the appropriate amount of hydration.
- Boosts physical and mental health: As we age, our cognitive abilities slow down and even mild dehydration can affect the brain’s ability to function to its full potential. Drinking enough water can improve our endurance levels, lower the heart rate and speed up the recovery process of physical activity.
- Keeps up urinary health: Some elderly people face urinary incontinence, which might lead them to drink less water. But drinking less water when you have this condition can actually exacerbate the problem. Seniors with urinary incontinence should maintain healthy drinking habits, as a reduction in fluid intake can cause even more problems such as urinary tract infections.
- Aids in better digestion: Some seniors who might not drink adequate water can end up with constipation or digestive discomfort. In such cases, they should always make sure to drink their daily dose of water, as dehydration is often linked to constipation. Regular hydration and fiber consumption can help seniors afflicted with constipation. Moreover, hydration is the key to digestive health.
- Helps manage kidney health: Low water intake increases the risk for kidney stones, bladder and colon cancers, and other health issues. As seniors age, kidney function often diminishes, which leads to a decrease in the body’s ability to concentrate urine. To boost renal ability, seniors should drink water throughout the day, even when they don’t feel thirsty.
According to an article in The Villager Newspaper, water plays many key roles in the body, besides its contributions towards improving our health — it helps proteins to fold (from amino acid chains into their functional structures), helps make enzymes (the catalysts for all biochemical reactions), and helps the body cells respond to environmental stimuli. Without enough H2O, none of these systems can remain healthy.
Below are some suggestions to make it a habit to drink sufficient water:
- Try to consume liquids throughout the day.
- Take a glass of water to bed each night and drink it down before leaving the bedroom in the morning. Make it a habit.
- Take sips from a glass of water, milk, or juice between bites during meals.
- If don’t want to drink plain water every time, add a slice of lemon, mint sprig, or a couple of drops of essential oils (that are safe to ingest) to your water, in a glass or stainless-steel container.
- If you need to take a pill, drink a full glass of water.
- Eating hydrating foods such as watermelon, strawberries, cucumbers, peaches, and oranges can also help in getting enough fluids into your body.
- Have a glass of water before you exercise or go outside to garden or walk, especially on a hot day.
Drinking water regularly helps keep everything flowing and working in our system. Water flushes out toxins, aids in digestion, helps us sleep better, focus better, and even lose weight. Water also helps us avoid dry, flaky skin and fine lines, which let’s face it, don’t help us look any younger.