The importance of staying hydrated is not to be underestimated, especially for the elderly, those who are ill, or those who engage in high activity lifestyles. To
put it quite simply, every part of your body, organ, tissue, and cell relies on water for life.
Water means life
Because every cell in the body requires water for adequate function, think about your vital organs. The brain, the heart, the lungs – each of which would cease to function properly without adequate levels of water. Dehydration can lead to a number of issues, from headaches to swollen feet to heat stroke.
How can I tell if I need to drink more?
How much to drink? The common recommendation is approximately 64 to 80 ounces or 1 to 2 L of water a day, but different people need different amounts of water to stay hydrated. Some need more, some may need less. If you sweat a lot, you might need more water. How much water you need on a daily basis also depends on your climate or geographical area and conditions, how long you exercise and its intensity, and even the type of clothing you wear.
Note: If you don’t sweat during very active or physical activity, it can be a danger sign that you’re already dehydrated and close to heat exhaustion. If you’re thirsty, it’s an indication that you’re already in the early stages of dehydration.
How can you tell if you need more water? If your urine is yellow or even darker, it’s a sign of dehydration. Increase water intake. If your urine is a very light yellow or even clear, you’re well hydrated.
Of course, other fluids are beneficial, but avoid those that add extra calories from sugars whenever possible. Even caffeinated drinks including coffee, tea, and soda, contribute to daily water intake, but watch the caffeine, which acts as a diuretic. Some fruits and vegetables can also provide water for the body, such as lettuce and watermelon.
Sports and energy drinks are not generally recommended for “regular hydration” because they not only contain caffeine and high levels of sugar but other ingredients that can overstimulate.
Make sure that you’re getting enough water. If you’re not sure, consult with your primary care physician and determine hydration requirements based on your age, physical condition, and level of activity.