Of all the natural cures in your arsenal, few are as simple, safe, and powerful as plain old water.
The fact is, you can ward off a long list of problems—from headaches and fatigue to low mood and difficulty focusing—simply by making sure you stay properly hydrated throughout the day, every day.
Unfortunately, chronic dehydration is a very real problem among Americans. And according to new research, there’s a reason it tends to strike older people, in particular…
Dehydration isn’t always obvious
As part of this study, researchers administered exercise heat tests to 20 men—ten younger (between 18 and 30 years old) and ten older (between 54 and 67 years old). All participants abstained from alcohol or strenuous exercise in the 24 hours prior. They also drank about 16 ounces of water the night before.
The men received two different exercise sessions, one week apart. Before each session, subjects received an IV saline solution. Then, they cycled for one hour on a stationary bike.
Calorimeters measured each subjects’ temperature and rate of heat loss. As it turns out, the data showed a marked difference between the body temperature regulation of younger versus older men.
In addition, an increase in the salt concentration of the blood didn’t trigger the same dehydration responses—like a reduction in heat loss, an increase in body temperature, and greater thirst—in the older men as they did in the younger men.
And here’s why that’s so dangerous: It means that when older people work out, their bodies don’t adjust in a way that would effectively help prevent further dehydration. Which puts a greater strain on the heart—not to mention a higher risk of heat stroke and exhaustion.
But it’s not just during exercise that a lower sensitivity to dehydration can cause trouble. The study authors point out that even warm environments—like a house with the heat always cranking the winter—could trigger dehydration without you even realizing it.
An easy way to stay hydrated
This study looked at men, specifically. But let me be clear: Dehydration doesn’t discriminate based on gender. And women are just as vulnerable to its effects.
In fact, you may recall a study I shared earlier this year, which showed that women who were under-hydrated scored lower in cognitive measures like processing speed, attention, and memory.
And that’s just one potential pitfall of chronic dehydration. Ultimately, not drinking enough water can fuel obesity, make you depressed and anxious, cause headaches, and interfere with kidney function. That’s a pretty serious list of complications for a problem that’s so simple to avoid.
That said, I realize how easy it is to let proper hydration fall by the wayside—especially in the colder months. So if you ask me, this is the perfect time to revisit some basics.
No doubt you’ve heard the “eight glasses a day” advice before. But the fact is, that may or may not be enough. To set the record straight, you should actually be drinking half your body weight in ounces of water each day. So a 160-pound person would need 80 ounces of water daily, as a rule of thumb.
But if you exercise—and I certainly hope you do—you need to drink more. For every 30 minutes of physical activity, you should add another eight ounces to your daily total. (And no, caffeinated beverages do not count in this calculation. In fact, each cup of coffee you drink requires yet another cup of water to make up for it.)
I realize that may sound like a lot… but it doesn’t take long to make a habit of it. You can start by downing a full glass first thing in the morning, before each meal, and before bed. This simple routine will make a big dent in your daily requirement—and ultimately, deliver an equally big payoff to your health.
P.S. This Sunday, October 25th at 3PM-EDT, I’ll be hosting a LIVE Ultimate Heart Summit. This exclusive event is the exact same information he uses to help hundreds of patients who enter through his door feeling hopeless—yet leave feeling like they’ve regained their lives. Don’t miss access to this FREE event… click here to reserve your spot today!
“Older men need to hydrate even when they are not thirsty.” Medical News Today, 10/12/2020. (medicalnewstoday.com/articles/older-men-need-to-hydrate-even-when-they-are-not-thirsty)