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L.J. Rohan

L.J. Rohan

Certified Gerontologist

How Much Water Should I Drink a Day? Part II

June 24, 2019

The topic of water is as big as an ocean, and so to continue…

In addition to the benefits I mentioned last time, drinking enough water can help us cut calories by filling up the available space in our stomachs with this zero-calorie fluid verses, say, Orangeade™. What works with weight loss is if you choose water or a non-caloric beverage over a caloric beverage and/or eat a diet higher in water-rich foods that are healthier, more filling, and help you trim calorie intake,” says Penn State researcher and multi-published author, Barbara Rolls, PhD.

One of the most widely known benefits of drinking water is good kidney function. Poor kidney function can cause all kinds of problems, including kidney stones. One in twenty of us will suffer from kidney stones in our lifetime, and the scale tips toward seniors as those who will suffer the most. Why? Because as we age, our thirst dial gets turned down and we are less able to register the need for water, so it becomes doubly important for us mid-lifers and seniors to consciously adopt the habit of drinking enough water. Dr. Barry Poppins at UNC Chapel Hill found that even after seniors were in dehydration, they were less thirsty and drank less replenishing fluids that did the younger folks in the study. Even when offered yummy drinks, the seniors in the study failed to drink enough to fully hydrate themselves. They had to choose to drink enough.

You may have read or heard about the connection between delirium/dementia and seniors. To stay on point here about the benefits of hydration for seniors, let me just say seniors are sometimes misdiagnosed as suffering from dementia, when in fact they are suffering from delirium—delirium being a serious disturbance in their cognitive abilities that results in confused thinking and a reduced awareness of their surroundings. A possible cause for the delirium? You guessed it, not enough water.  Another strong connection with not drinking enough water is an increased expression of Bronchopulmonary Disorders like asthma and other bronchial issues when people, especially seniors, are dehydrated and exercise. These folks need to be sure to drink adequate amounts of water to prevent an episode when they raise their heart rate.

Lastly, do you want your skin to feel and look younger? Drink enough water. Dehydration makes older skin look even drier and more wrinkled–a state improved overnight by drinking enough water to be properly hydrated. It can’t erase wrinkles, dang it, but softer more supple skin when glowing from being properly hydrated does make those laugh lines look positively endearing.

So the ten million dollar question on the front burner of your brain: How much water should I drink in a day? The answer varies according to a few factors, but a minimum of sixty-four (64) ounces of good quality, filtered water will cover your needs, adding in a few more glasses during and after exercise, and in very hot weather—like Texas in July and August. This means only water. Other liquids—iced tea, juice, coffee, or vodka– don’t count toward your total daily intake. Those are just extra.

I started with a little cup with a dial on it as my way in, but there are now new-fangled ounce-and-cup- counting vessels all over the market. Choose the one that appeals to you and buy two—one for the office and one for home. Your brain, your heart, and your parched skin will thank you for it. We can beat dehydration in old age and move toward being vibrant just by drinking water—and it’s calorie free!

Until next time…Be Vibrant!

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