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How much do we need water?

Updated: Aug 16, 2023

We all know that we need to drink water when we exercise or when we go outside. But did you know all the parts of your body that are affected if you do get dehydrated? And do you know that dehydration affects your balance, your coordination, and your risk for falling - no matter what your age?

Water is one of the most vital elements second only to oxygen. Water is important to almost every basic function of your body including:

  • Temperature regulation

  • Blood circulation

  • Metabolism

  • Immune response

  • Brain function

  • For the elimination of toxins and wast from the body

  • Water lubricates the body: found in joints, it acts as shock absorber, reduces joint pain, it is in your eyes and spinal column.

  • Water naturally suppresses appetite and helps the body metabolize stored fat

  • Water helps to maintain proper muscle tone and helps reduce wrinkles

We lose a pint or more of water every day simply by breathing! We normally lose a total of about 10 cups of fluid a day in exhaled air, perspiration, and other bodily secretions.

Brain function

A 2% drop in body mass due to dehydration leads too a significant decrease in attention, cognitive function and motor coordination

Maintain your blood pressure Dehydration causes lower blood pressure which reduces blood flow and delivery of oxygen to vital organs brains and muscles and maybe a risk factor for falling.

Medication and dehydration

Water helps dilute water soluble medications. A decrease in body water decreases distribution of medication through the body and increases the concentration these drugs causing a higher susceptibility to the drug’s toxic effects in older adults.

Protecting your joints

About 70-80 % of joint cartel;age is made of water. Without sufficient water, joint pain is increased. Water is what gives cartilage its gel-like consistency when hydrated which cushions your joints.

Functional ability and fitness

Your muscles are 80% water, when that percentage drops, your movements and physical performance such as balance, walking, exercising, sports decreases and may lead to injuries.

Dehydration and traveling

The body tends to dehydrate while traveling, particularly on airplanes. An additional 8 oz. of water per hour is suggested. Exposure to summer heat requires additional water. The body uses a great deal of water through skin-cooling perspiration.

First sign of dehydration

One of the best ways to recognize dehydration is to pay close attention to the color of your urine. Ideally, light to clear urine indicates proper water intake.

The first sign of dehydration may be a headachy feeling at the end of the day.

Thirst and aging

As we age the brain becomes less sensitive to thrust signals and kidney function changes. Older adults are thus at an increased risk for dehydration. Additional, many older adults deal with incontinence and often do not like to drink water due to repeated visits to the bathroom. The risk for falling due to dehydration increases dramatically and thus the risk for injury does too.

Dehydration can cause

  • Headaches, sleepiness or lethargy

  • Unusually tired, dizziness, falls, and muscle cramps, more joint pain

  • Constipation, dry mouth

  • Decrease effects of medication and increase toxicity

  • Decreased blood volume and thus a drop in blood pressure

How much water should we drink each day?

Drink about half your body weight in ounces unless your doctor tells you otherwise.

To determine one's ideal daily water intake, experts at the Mayo Clinic suggest dividing your body weight in half and using this number as the ounces of water you should consume. (Based on this formula, a 125-pound person should consume the recommended eight servings of water each day.) When it is hot and/or you are exercising you need even more.

Bring water with you when you venture outside, and when going somewhere in your car. Bring extra bottles of water just incase your get stuck somewhere or your car breaks down.

Be safe, be well , thrive and life vibrantly!

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