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The importance of staying hydrated for active senior living

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    Keeping yourself hydrated helps maintain healthy brain and overall body functions.

    Keeping yourself hydrated helps maintain healthy brain and overall body functions.

    While the importance of hydration is often stressed in the warm months, keeping your body hydrated in the winter is equally as valuable. And because it is typically colder in the winter, sometimes it may not seem like your body needs as many fluids because you are not in the heat. Nonetheless, hydration is key to healthy living all year round!

    Why it is important to stay hydrated
    Adequate hydration is essential for the quality of life of seniors, according to the Nestle Nutrition Institute. Specifically, water helps promote brain function, intestinal comfort and urinary continence. The better you manage these aspects of your health, the easier it is to enjoy the active life you want.

    To stay hydrated, it is important to drink at least 64 ounces of water per day.To stay hydrated, it is important to drink at least 64 ounces of water per day.

    How to stay hydrated
    Drink before you're thirsty to keep your body hydrated. Being thirsty is actually an indication that your body is already slightly dehydrated.

    Everyone's body is different, so there is no set amount of fluids needed per person per day, according to the Mayo Clinic. However, a rule to live by is to drink eight 8 oz. glasses of water per day. Seniors who exercise more, live in warmer environments (indoors or outdoors) or have other health conditions such as a fever will typically need more than 64 ounces of water each day.

    To reach the daily water recommendation, the Nestle Nutrition Institute advised setting a daily schedule to keep people on track with their water intake. The regimen is roughly based around drinking a glass at every meal and in between meals.

    The best ways to stay hydrated
    Staying hydrated requires a combination of drinking, eating and environmental factors. Typically, food accounts for 20 percent of a person's daily total water intake. Liquids make up the rest.

    The best liquid for staying hydrated is water. Other options for drinks include milk, sugar-free juice and coconut water. It is important to avoid or limit diuretics such as coffee, tea and soda. These caffeinated drinks prompt the body to flush out fluids, making it more difficult to remain hydrated. If you still need your daily coffee fix or your afternoon tea, opt for decaffeinated or herbal versions of your go-to brands!

    "Staying hydrated is a combination of drinking, eating and environmental factors."

    As for foods, many fruits and vegetables clock in up to 90 percent or more in water weight. The Mayo Clinic highlighted watermelon and spinach as healthy foods that contain large amounts of water. Cantaloupe, grapefruit, cucumber and zucchini, among others, are also more than 90 percent water, according to the University of Kentucky's College of Agriculture.

    Ways to ensure you're hydrated
    Noticing the color of your urine is a quick and easy way to touch base on your hydration level, according to the Nestle Nutrition Foundation. The lighter the color, the more hydrated you are. If it is a darker hue, it may mean that you are not drinking enough. However, check with your health care provider to make sure dark urine is not caused by another underlying condition.

    Signs of dehydration, according to the Cleveland Clinic, include dark urine, dry cough, fatigue, flushed skin, intolerance to heat, light-headedness and loss of appetite. The Mayo Clinic said drinking too much water is rare, but is a possibility. Over-hydrating typically happens, if at all, to endurance athletes like marathon runners. So do not worry and drink up!

    How do you stay hydrated? Do you have certain tricks to make sure you meet your daily recommended water intake?


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