By Amy Brunner, Wellness Services Manager at Twin Towers Senior Living Community
The general rule of thumb for daily water consumption is to drink 8- eight ounce glasses of water a day. This is a good starting point, however it may not be enough, or too much, depending on your body weight and energy expenditure.
For approximately every pound of body weight we need to drink half that amount in ounces of fluid.
For example: if a woman weighs 140 lbs, half her body weight is 70. Therefore she needs to drink 70 ounces of fluids per day, which is or 8-9 cups or about 2 liters.
Four Reasons To Drink Enough Water
1. Weight Control
Increasing your water intake as little as 1% can reduce your total daily calorie intake. Drink 1-3 more cups of water per day and you could consume over 200 less calories a day.
There are 9 calories in 1 gram of fat, and 4 calories in 1 gram of carbohydrate. By increasing your water intake and consuming less calories, you reduce your fat and carb intake which when not used for energy, is converted into excess body weight.
Drinking a glass of water before a meal can help to consume less calories and will also aide in digestion.
2. Skin Health
The skin is an organ made up of cells. Cells are made up of water. When the body is dehydrated the result is dry, tight, flaky skin. When the skin is flaky and brittle there is an increased risk for toxins and bacteria to enter the skin thus resulting in acne (yes, adult’s get acne too).
Elasticity of Skin
Collagen is a protein produced by the body which helps to keep the skin plump and elastic. When the skin is dry this affects the production of collagen thus giving the skin a sunken and wrinkled look. Due to the reduction of collagen the skin becomes thinner and is more prone to tearing and infection.
3. Brain Function
People commonly think of the physical signs of dehydration (dry mouth, fatigue, headache, etc.). More surprising signs of dehydration include impaired mental functioning. One of the first signs of dehydration is confusion, along with disorientation and slow cognitive reasoning.
We often look to medications or a medical diagnosis for these behaviors but in some cases the person might just need to consume more water.
4. Management of Diabetes and Blood Pressure
Fluids help normalize blood pressure. Studies show that drinking 1-3 more cups of water per day may decrease your sodium intake by 78-235 grams/day.
On average, Americans consume 3,436 mg of sodium/day (3.4g). The American Heart Association recommends 1,500 mg/day (1.5g) to prevent and lower high blood pressure.
Study shows that drinking 1-3 more cups of water per day may decrease your sugar intake by 5-18 grams/day. Diabetes is controlled through limiting carbohydrate consumption which includes sugars.
The American Diabetes Association recommends diabetics consume 45-60 grams of carbohydrates at each meal.
Whether you currently have high blood pressure or are diabetic, or if your doctor has told you that you are at risk for developing either of these conditions, consider drinking more water to better manage the disease or to lower your risk for developing the disease.
Five Hydration Tips
1. Drink before you are thirsty.
When your body is thirsty it means you are already partially dehydrated.
2. Hungry or Thirsty?
Oftentimes we mistake hunger for thirst; when we think we are hungry we are really starting to become dehydrated. Drink a glass of water first, wait 5-10 minutes then eat something if you are still hungry.
3. Flavor your water
Cutting up slices of your favorite fruit to add flavor to your water or purchase flavored water (i.e. vitamin water, propel).
Favorite Flavorings From The Twin Towers Wellness Team
“I use cucumber, it’s really good and surprisingly so are sweet basil, lavender and cinnamon,” says Wellness Specialist Chrissy, who grows her own herbs and blogged about the health benefits of drinking tea.
“I typically don’t use herbs as much as fruit like blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, or raspberries. My go too is lemons and limes for sure,” says Wellness Specialist Minyette, who blogs about yoga and cooking with fresh herbs.
4. Purchase A Dedicated Water Bottle
My favorite water bottle is designed by Bevgo and has a timeline from 8am-5pm to help you track your water intake. The goal is to drink 8 oz of water every hour so this is a great visual reminder!
5. Non-Water Fluids
Sparkling water is often chosen by those who are looking for something more exciting than basic tap water. Does sparkling water hydrate the same as plain water?
Yes - but sparkling water sparkles because of added minerals including sodium, and some sparkling water include sugar as an ingredient. Be sure to check the label before buying.
Here’s a chart we created that can help:
Amy Brunner is the Wellness Services Manager at the fitness & wellness center at Twin Towers, The Connection, where you will find an expertly trained team who develops workout routines and exercises that are personalized to your goals. The fitness center offers a variety of classes and equipment specifically designed for those aged 50+. The Aquatic Center includes a 75-foot heated pool, aquatic bikes, and a whirlpool.