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Hydration and Aging: Why Older Adults Need to Prioritize Water Intake This Summer

Water is essential for nearly all bodily functions, from lubricating joints to ensuring the heart pumps blood efficiently. As we age, the risk of dehydration increases due to changes in temperature regulation, body composition, and a reduced sense of thirst. Therefore, increasing water intake, especially during summer, is crucial to prevent dehydration and maintain health. The National Academy of Medicine recommends that men aged 51 and older consume about 13 cups of fluids daily, while women should aim for 9 cups. This includes fluids from water, food, and other beverages.

Here are some tips to stay hydrated during the summer months:

  1. Keep water handy. Carry a refillable water bottle wherever you go or keep a water pitcher and cup near your favorite spot at home for easy access to hydration.
  2. Choose water-rich foods. If drinking fluids is difficult, include foods like cucumbers, watermelon, lettuce, strawberries, tomatoes, and celery in every meal.
  3. Limit alcohol. Alcohol is a diuretic, removing fluids from your body. Reducing alcohol intake helps retain more water.
  4. Make water interesting. Plain water can get boring, so add slices of lemon, apple, cucumber, or berries. You can also consider low-sugar sports drinks.
  5. Create a hydration routine. Drink water at specific times daily to build a habit, such as when you wake up, after meals, and before and after exercise.

The Mayo Clinic provides information on the symptoms of dehydration, which can differ by age. It’s important to recognize the early symptoms of dehydration to avoid more serious heat-related illness and injury.  This summer, take care of yourself and loved ones by staying active and hydrated!