Mature Living Special Section: Tips for preventing dehydration

Published on Wed, Oct 26, 2011 by Raymond Lee

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Drinking lots of fresh water may seem like the most natural thing in the world, but as you age, the thirst urge diminishes.

Unfortunately, this makes older people acutely at risk for dehydration, because they can lose important amounts of body water without ever becoming thirsty. But as long as you can keep up with the amount of fluid your body needs, you don’t have to worry about dehydration.

Following are some ways that you can keep from going dry:

1. Eat more fruits and veggies

When your body is depleted of fluids, nearly any form of liquid can make a worthy contribution. That includes the water in fresh fruits and vegetables, since the majority of these are at least 75 percent water.

2. Avoid diuretics

Alcohol and caffeine are powerful diuretics. When you have drinks with alcohol or caffeine, they flush out fluid faster than they contribute it. Avoid them altogether, but if you can’t, limit the intake.

3. Drink more with exercise

When you exercise, be sure that you drink plenty of water before, during and after. An hour before you exercise, drink 8 to 16 ounces of water, juice or a sports drink. If you exercise enough to break a sweat, you need about 20 to 40 ounces of water per hour, which is 4 to 8 ounces every 15 minutes.

4. Drink frequently

Dehydration creeps up on you, so be aware of the risk and take preventive measures. When you are past 60, you can’t depend on the usual signals to tell you that you are thirsty. You have to schedule your drinking to stay hydrated – and that often means that you should drink long before you feel thirsty. It is recommended you drink 64 ounces, or eight 8-ounce glasses, of fluid a day. Make it simple – remember to drink one glass of water every hour during the day.

5. Be a carrier

Water bottles are handy, easy to carry and a constant reminder to drink throughout the day. A quart-size bottle is best for day-long drinking. Don’t feel self-conscious carrying a bottle around, they have almost become part of modern dress.

6. Spark the flavor

If you don’t like the taste of water, dress it up with lemon slices. Buy flavored seltzer water if you like a bubbly treat or flavor up plain seltzer with cranberry juice, peach nectar or whatever kind of juice you like.