Drink Up – Tips To Stay Hydrated This Summer!

By Kiana Ward, RDN, LDN |

At last, warmer temperatures are here, and it’s time to get outdoors and enjoy the sunshine! If you are outside and increasing your activity level, drink enough water daily to avoid dehydration. You may be surprised to learn that dehydration is one of the more frequent causes of hospitalization for those 65 and older. Some older adults often don’t realize they’re thirsty; by the time they are, that indicates early dehydration. Dehydration has been shown to increase the risk of falls in older adults.

Water makes up 60% of our body and is part of staying healthy; it’s vital to keep us alive. From properly balancing bodily fluids to kidney function, hydration keeps our body working as 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. What are the causes of dehydration? Natural physiological changes are a significant factor. For example, losing your sense of thirst 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. Those with chronic diseases who take medications can experience dehydration as a side effect.

With a little mindful effort and some creativity, the good news is that 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 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 a stainless steel water bottle that keeps your drinks chilled throughout the day without adding 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 undoubtedly the best for you. So if you reach for a glass of water less often, add a bit of fruit or flavor. Water enhancements like drink powders or flavored 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 enjoyable, but higher temperatures can create a greater risk of dehydration, especially as regulating our body temperature gets harder with age. Whether you’re planning on being active or just relaxing while getting some sunshine, drink plenty of cold liquids and water to stay healthy and hydrated while getting fresh air.

Be Mindful

Staying hydrated may sound simple enough when considering water intake, but we often forget about other aspects of our diet or lifestyle that could make it harder. 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 water and electrolytes needed to stay properly hydrated. If you’re taking any medication, keep a close eye on its side effects and up your water intake to replace 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 ensure you get enough water and know the warning signs to address dehydration before it worsens.

Proper hydration and nutrition are important to maintain optimal health. Download this article to learn the benefits of frozen home-delivered meals.