Well, that’s not good: A large percentage of Americans don’t drink enough water, and dehydration is especially common as people get older. In fact, up to 28 percent of older Americans are not meeting their hydration needs. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that water intake is “significantly lower” in older adults. Dehydration can lead to a number of health problems, registered dietitian Scott Keatley, co-owner of Keatley Medical Nutrition Therapy, tells Yahoo Life. “Water is the medium in which most of our metabolic processes take place,” he says. “We have bodily systems that protect us from deadly dehydration, but a decrease in body fluids by just 2 percent reduces athletic performance, cardiovascular function, and the body’s ability to regulate temperature.”
Fortunately, dehydration is easily treated by drinking more fluids. It can be a little tricky figuring out your exact hydration needs, but the U.S. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine recommends aiming for the following goals:
Worth noting: Recommended numbers include the hydration you get from water, other beverages, and food.
To make sure you stay hydrated, Keatley recommends “starting with a healthy amount of fruits and vegetables, which not only have valuable nutrients but also a hefty amount of water.” Of course, you’ll want to make sure you’re drinking plenty of water, and coffee and tea can also help you reach your hydration goals, he says. “If my clients are very active or sweat more than the average person, we discuss increasing intake based on their specific needs,” says Keatley.
Even doing something as simple as carrying around a bottle of water (and actually drinking it throughout the day) can make a big difference. Just know this, according to Keatley: “You don’t need a two-gallon jug to fill your needs.” Instead, he suggests getting a bottle that holds up to a liter of liquid. “Filled twice, [it] it will help meet your hydration needs for the day and is small enough to use if you take long walks or hit the gym,” he says.
Motivational time marker bottles can also help you stay on schedule, says Keatley, adding, “Sometimes it’s nice to have a reminder to take some time out and have a drink.” Keep in mind, however, that you don’t need to go overboard with your hydration. “There’s a point where you don’t benefit from drinking water,” says Keatley. His advice: Set a daily goal and “see how it works for you.”
If you feel like you’re not doing your best to hydrate regularly right now, take steps to fix it. Fortunately, it is possible to reverse dehydration and pretty quickly. These items can help you drink enough throughout the day.
The highly popular 18oz Yeti Rambler keeps drinks cold for hours, thanks to a double wall vacuum. It also features a “chug cap” for quick and easy drinking and fits in most cup holders. The stainless steel exterior is durable and won’t dent if you accidentally drop it.
$30 on Amazon
Want to make your own delicious sports drink on the go? Amazon’s best-selling electrolyte mix is easy to use: just pour a packet into your water bottle and enjoy. Choose from a myriad of delicious flavors, including lemon and acai berry.
$23 on Amazon
Not really a water drinker? This glass pitcher has a special infuser and lid so you can add your favorite flavors to your H2O. Try strawberries and mint, cucumber, or almost anything you can imagine. It’s also a great non-alcoholic option at dinner parties. Worth noting: It’s dishwasher safe.
$26 on Amazon
Keeping up with getting enough water throughout the day can be challenging, especially when you’re busy. This frosted plastic bottle is BPA free and features convenient time markers to help keep you on track for optimal hydration throughout the day.
$16 on Amazon
Want to keep your water bottle handy but don’t feel like carrying a huge bag? This bottle holder is made from soft neoprene to insulate your drink. There are also some zipped pockets to hold your essential items. The adjustable, padded strap helps you get the perfect fit.
$14 on Amazon
The only downside to carrying around a standard water bottle is that it takes up space you may not have available. This collapsible “bottle” is made from flexible BPA-free plastic, making it a great choice if your purse tends to get crowded. It holds up to 23 ounces of water and you can choose from a number of pretty color combinations.
$10 on Amazon
Sometimes you need a little extra boost to accelerate your hydration. This smart water bottle uses sensor technology to monitor your water intake. It syncs with a hydration tracking app so you can see how well you’re meeting your daily goals. It even lights up to remind you to drink.
$46 on Amazon
Sure, you could set a water drink reminder on your phone, but this cute light attaches to your water bottle and uses smart sensing sensors to remind you to drink water at least once an hour. Choose from a range of inspiring and quirky messages from “Don’t be a cactus” to “You got it!”
$20 on Amazon
This Brita filter is very popular, with over 41,000 perfect reviews. The BPA-free pitcher holds up to 10 cups of water, which can fill three 24-ounce bottles of water before needing to be refilled. It’s specially designed to fit on refrigerator shelves and has a locking lid that won’t fall off when pouring.
$17 on Amazon
The heat is coming fast and that means you’ll need to work a little harder to stay hydrated. Take extra bottles of water to the beach or pool with this cooler bag. Holds up to 10 gallons of tackle, so you can fill it with plenty of water bottles. The thick thermal foam ensures your stuff stays nice and cool until you’re ready to drink.
$28 on Amazon
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