In Southern California, it’s been hot…triple-digit hot! And for Baby Boomers and older adults, that means it’s important to drink enough water throughout the day. Reminding people to drink water and providing ideas to increase intake is an important part of my work.
After all, worse case scenario, you could end up in the hospital with dehydration, as some of my clients have. Dehydration can lead to urinary and kidney problems, seizures and even death from low blood volume, which can cause low blood pressure and a drop in oxygen levels.
Our bodies are about 60% water. Adequate water intake is important to help maintain normal body temperature, carry nutrients and oxygen to cells, protect sensitive tissues, get rid of wastes and provide a moist environment for ears, nose and throat tissues.
How Much Is Enough?
Contrary to what most people believe, there are no official recommendations for plain water intake. However, there are recommendations for total water intake–from all beverages and foods.
The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine recommends:
- Women–approximately 2.7 liters (91 ounces) of total water each day
- Men–approximately 3.7 liters (125 ounces daily) of total water
- About 80% of total water intake comes from drinking water and other beverages (including tea, coffee, juices, sodas and drinking water)
- The other 20% comes from food (think: watermelon, soup, spinach, etc.)
Note: these recommendations are for healthy people who are adequately hydrated.
So if 80% of your fluid intake is from what you drink, that translates to 72 oz. (9 cups) for women and 100 oz. (12.5 cups) for men.
An “unofficial” recommendation is the color of urine: if it’s dark, you may be headed towards problems; if it’s the color of lemonade, you’re on track. However, many factors impact the color of urine (darker or discolored), including medical problems, medications and certain foods. But a light yellow is probably a good sign.
And keep in mind that the amount of water needed is influenced by exercise, weather, elevation and illness.
Ways To Get Enough
Most health professionals recommend people drink 8 glasses (8 oz. each) per day. No real basis for the number, but it is easy to remember. And although all liquids count, let’s get serious: ditch fruit juice and get the fiber and full feeling with whole fruits, get rid of soda and its high-sugar content, go easy on diet drinks because they have their own set of problems. And because many Boomers and seniors are watching their weight, water is just the overall best choice.
Here are five ways to help you consume enough water:
- Buy a water bottle to easily track your intake. Most are 20+ oz., so drink four – five full containers per day.
- If you take medications, drink an 8-oz glass of water with each dose.
- Try different temperatures. Some people love icy cold water; I can down more at room temperature.
- Add sliced fruit or vegetables to flavor water without adding sugar or calories. Berries, citrus and cucumbers make tasty additions.
- Drink a glass of water before each meal. Bonus: this practice may help you eat less at mealtimes.
Many older adults complain about getting up at night to urinate. If this is a problem, stop drinking water at dinnertime; just skew your intake heavily to the earlier part of the day.
For more ideas to get enough water intake, give me a call!
We can discuss some practical tips and discover if any of my programs or classes are a good fit for you.
If you’d like to schedule that call with me, just CLICK THIS LINK, and let me know in the message that you would like a 1-on-1 call with me right away and I will be in touch to schedule that – oh, and leave me your phone number in there too since email is not as reliable as it used to be! Thanks.