Geridoc

Geriatrician, Hospitalist, patient advocate, healthcare educator

Staying Hydrated in the Summer

With Covid declining and everyone rushing outside to enjoy our new found freedom, drinking enough water is a struggle. After all our bodies are composed of about 60% of water. How much water you need depends on the weather, activity status, if you have medical conditions, and what foods you ate that day (some foods contain larger water content than others).

Although most experts recommend eight 8 oz glasses of water a day, the needs of each individual varies. A simple way to calculate how much you should drink is to divide your weight in half, that is how many ounces a day your body requires. For example someone who weighs 200 pounds should be consuming 100 ounces of water a day on an average.

We all lose water throughout the day, the main purpose of drinking water is to prevent dehydration. Often, health conditions or medications such as being on a diuretic can cause further water loss. Those living in hot weather who are out in the sun, undergoing vigorous workouts, or eating salty, sugary, or spicy foods will require more water to compensate.

For the most part our bodies know when we need to drink more water and can stimulate the thirst mechanism. Unfortunately in the elderly, the thirst mechanism may be impaired making them more prone to dehydration.

Benefits of water hydration:

  • Drinking water can cause a slight increase in metabolism, drinking water about a half hour before a meal will cause someone to eat lesser calories and therefore may help in weight loss
  • Skin becomes clear, plumper with improved elasticity with good hydration
  • Helps maintain body temperature (as we feel hot and sweaty, drinking water cools down the body)
  • Helps in digesting food effectively and prevents constipation
  • Delivers oxygen throughout the body and improves circulation
  • Helps kidneys work efficiently, prevents kidney stones
  • Allows the bladder to flush out toxins therefore preventing urinary tract infections and also helping in treating urinary tract infections
  • Helps lubricate and cushion your joints, brain, spinal cord
  • Prevents headaches and migraines (dehydration causes your brain to shrink and pull away from the skull triggering pain receptors and therefore causing a headache)

Helpful tips for consuming more water:

  • Get a reusable water bottle or jug to keep count of how much you are drinking or invest in a smart water bottle
  • Enhance water with fruit, lemon, cucumbers, or mint
  • Try to add water or ice to sugary drinks such as juices
  • Use an app to record water intake to keep yourself accountable
  • Eat water rich fruit and vegetables such as watermelon or cucumbers
  • Keep a water bottle or jug around you even when you are working and keep refilling it
  • Eat spicy food! This will sure make you want to chug down some water.
  • Freeze freshly squeezed lemon or lime into ice cubes

FAQs:

What are some symptoms of dehydration?

Mouth feels dry and parched, urinating less, dark yellow color urine, feeling tired/dizzy

Can my urine tell me if I am dehydrated?

Yes. Normal urine should be light yellow. If it is dark yellow, it means you are dehydrated and need to drink more water. On the other hand, if your urine is translucent with no color, it may mean you are drinking too much water.

How do I take care of my reusable water bottle?

Wash it with soap and water every day and make sure it is dried before using it again. If it is dishwasher safe, you can run it through the dishwasher ensuring it is dried thoroughly to prevent germs.