How Much Water Do You Need in Midlife?

How Much Water Do You Need in Midlife?

MenoLabs News | Tue, Jun 27, 2023

Most of us already know that proper hydration is essential for maintaining our health. But you may not know that as we grow older, staying hydrated is even more crucial — largely due to changes in the body’s ability to regulate temperature and even know when we’re dehydrated.

A 2020 University of Ottawa study showed that as we age, our bodies don’t communicate that we’re dehydrated as effectively as they did when we were younger. Basically, “drink when you’re thirsty” might have worked in our younger years, but as we age, we may not feel thirsty until dehydration has already become a problem. Therefore, researchers urge older adults to drink water regularly throughout the day, even if they don’t feel thirsty, in order to prevent ailments related to dehydration, including muscle pain, fatigue, and heat stroke.  

Beyond extreme thirst, other signs that you may be dehydrated include:

  • Less frequent urination
  • Dark-colored and strong-smelling urine
  • Fatigue
  • Lightheadedness and dizziness
  • Confusion
  • Bad breath
  • Dry or flushed skin
  • Muscle cramps
  • Fever and chills
  • Headaches
  • Food cravings, especially for sweets

If you experience these symptoms, making sure you drink some water is a good place to start (though if your symptoms persist, get in touch with your doctor).

How much water do you need?

The National Council of Aging has a simple formula for figuring out how much water you should drink:

your body weight in pounds, divided by 3
# of fluid ounces you should consume each day

So by that rule, if you weigh 150 pounds, around 50 oz of water a day should be adequate. However, we as humans can meet our hydration needs through various sources including the foods we eat, so eating plenty of water-rich foods alongside drinking enough water will help you avoid the symptoms of dehydration, too.

Easy ways to drink more water

  • Sparkling (or carbonated) water hydrates just as well as flat water. And for a lot of us, cracking open a can of flavored seltzer feels like a little treat. If you love sparkling water but hate the waste of single-use plastics and cans, a carbonation machine is a solid investment.

  • Any time you’re out and about and someone offers you water, always say yes. This simple action has been touted as a tip for job interviews and an “unconventional life hack,” but it’s also a really easy way to get an extra boost of hydration in your day.

  • Whether it’s throwing a few cucumber slices into a glass or going full-on WaterTok, a lot of people find that adding flavor to their water makes it easier to get enough of it. We love keeping a pitcher of caffeine-free/antioxidant-rich hibiscus tea in the fridge for day-to-day sipping and whipping up a batch of berry faux-jito spritzes when entertaining.

While hydration is important and you should always take care to drink more water when you’re active (and keep an eye out for dehydration symptoms), the last thing you want is to make it a chore — or, worse, something to be anxious over. Having fun with your water and increasing your total water intake with fresh fruits and vegetables make it easy to get enough hydration in typical circumstances.

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