With the summer heat inching up the thermometer, it’s time to check your fluids … are you drinking enough water and other liquids? While staying hydrated is important for people of all ages, it’s particularly important as we grow older. Older adults don’t notice thirst as readily as younger people, and sometimes changes in our health happen quickly.
It’s important to drink enough water and other fluids for several reasons (information from the Centers for Disease Control):
- Keeping your temperature normal through perspiration
- Getting rid of waste through urination and bowel movements
- Protecting your spinal cord and other sensitive tissues
- Lubrication and cushioning for your joints
- Keeping your skin from getting drier
You need to drink enough water every day to replace the fluids that the body naturally loses. If you don’t make a point of drinking water or other fluids, especially in hot weather, you’re probably not getting enough. If you take prescription medication or have kidney problems, be sure to check with your doctor before drastically increasing your fluid intake.
Here are some tips for sneaking more water into your diet:
- Drink a full glass of water with your medications, not just a sip to get by.
- Take sips of water between bites during meals.
- Carry a water bottle for easy access when you’re running errands.
- Put a freezer-safe water bottle in the freezer to grab when you go out. As it thaws, you’ll have cool water to drink.
- Choose water instead of sugary drinks, which includes many sports drinks. This saves money as well as calories.
- Stick with water when eating out, which also will save money.
- Add a slice of lemon or lime to water for a little zip.
- Have a cup of soup for an afternoon snack.
- Try herbal teas or decaffeinated coffee.
Some foods have a high fluid content, so enjoy plenty of these:
- Fruits including watermelon, oranges, grapes and apples
- Vegetables such as lettuce, greens, cucumbers and squash