How Much Water Should You 𝙍𝙚𝙖𝙡𝙡𝙮 Drink Each Day?

How much water should you drink each day? 

The standard answer is eight glasses per day. But is it really necessary to drink that much? On the other hand, are eight glasses a day enough?

The definitive answer from the world-famous Mayo Clinic is (drum roll, please)… it all depends.

How much water you need each day to stay healthy depends on a variety of factors. Including your health condition, your activity level, and where you live.

How We Gain & Lose Water

We all lose water every day through urine, bowel movements, perspiration, and our breath. Drinking water is the primary way to replace what we lose. Although we can also accomplish some of this task by eating foods containing water.

An average of 20% of the fluids we take in comes from food. When we don’t replace water we’ve lost, our bodies don’t function as well as they should. 

Most of us probably don’t drink eight glasses of water per day. Even fewer of us count the glasses we drink. Generally speaking, most of us drink when we’re thirsty.

Many beverages contain water. Including milk, juice, and coffee. As a result, we might get more water than we think. But as we age, we have a diminished sense of thirst. So, maybe we don’t always get what we need.

Why Your Body Needs Water

Understanding the science behind the importance of drinking plenty of water each day might influence us to drink more.

The water inside you makes up about 60% of your body. It helps your circulation, creates saliva, and helps digest your food. It also helps maintain body temperature and moves nutrients to where they should be. Drinking plenty of water maintains the proper balance of fluids your body needs. Staying hydrated can also:

  • Lower your calorie intake and reduce your weight.  
  • Energize your muscles.
  • Help your skin look healthier.
  • Help your kidneys function properly.  
  • Help your bowels function normally.  

Even More Important for Seniors

A moment ago, I mentioned that aging comes into play regarding water intake. In addition to that diminished sense of thirst, there are other factors making us susceptible to dehydration.

For one, our kidneys don’t function as well as they used to. They need more water flowing through them than previously.

Some of the medications we take can contribute to dehydration. Chronic illnesses do the same.

Physical limitations make us less active. So thirst doesn’t build up quickly. Many of us don’t have the appetite we once had. We don’t get as much water through foods as before. Sweat gland changes also occur, affecting our thirst. 

Dehydration Symptoms

Dehydration happens when the body does not contain enough water and other fluids to carry out normal functions. Thanks to losing more fluids than it takes in.

So, if we don’t have the appetite or thirst we used to have, how do we know if we’re starting to get dehydrated? Some symptoms to watch for are:

  • Dark urine
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness
  • Dry mouth, lips, and tongue
  • Muscle cramps
  • Apathy, tiredness, or weakness
  • Confusion

During a survival situation, we should pay even more attention to these symptoms than we normally do.

Summer Could Be a Scorcher

Weather forecasters tell us this summer could be one of the hottest on record. Which means we’ll lose more fluids than normal. Just by walking around and interacting with others.

Extreme heat is a major cause of dehydration. The body perspires in an attempt to cool off. But unless fluids are replaced, dehydration occurs. We need to drink plenty of water when exposed to high temperatures.

Prolonged exposure to high temps can cause the body to overheat. If one’s body temperature reaches 104 degrees, heat stroke can occur.

If left untreated, heat stroke can result in damage to the brain, heart, kidneys, and muscles. The longer treatment is delayed, the more serious the situation.      

Check Your Water Intake

This all makes monitoring our water intake imperative. Always carry a water bottle when you’re out and about. Set daily water goals. Use an app to keep track of how much you’re drinking.

Drink a glass of water first thing in the morning. As well as right before a meal or snack. If you’re not crazy about the taste of water, infuse it with fruits or herbs for flavor.

Eat foods with high water content. And limit coffee, sugary drinks, and alcohol intake.    

The bottom line is, drink more water. Your muscles, skin, kidneys, and bowels will thank you

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