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The Importance of Staying Well-Hydrated

by Frank Herold
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As with many other aspects of maintaining good health, staying well-hydrated becomes even more important as a person ages. The older a person becomes, the more likely they will experience a negative outcome if they become dehydrated at some point. Fortunately, once a person becomes aware of the importance of staying hydrated, they can take the right actions every day to ensure they receive enough liquids in their diet. 

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Benefits of Staying Hydrated

There are so many benefits to staying well-hydrated it's hard to know where to begin. Nevertheless, we've selected the top 8 reasons why it's a good idea to maintain optimal levels of hydration every day.   

1. Eases Joint Pain 

Human joint cartilage is made up of approximately 80% water. When a person drinks enough liquids every day, it gives their joints the lubrication they need to perform their task as a cushion between bones. The more cushioning a person has, the less joint friction they'll experience, and that translates into fewer joint aches and pains.  

2. Improves Digestion 

 Water is very beneficial for the digestive system. Getting enough water helps to break down the soluble fiber that a person ingests every day. In turn, this can help improve the entire digestion process by decreasing the likelihood a person will experience constipation, heartburn, gas, and/or bloating.

3. Brain Performance Benefits 

Did you know that drinking enough liquids every day can help improve brain function? Taking in enough liquids every day can help improve a person's ability to concentrate. It can also help improve their reaction time (so important when driving), and it helps to improve a person's memory, as well as their overall mood. 

4. Water Helps Prevent Kidney Stones 

Getting enough water every day helps to dilute the mineral concentration inside a person's urinary tract. This can help reduce the likelihood of developing a kidney stone. As an added bonus, getting sufficient liquids every day helps flush away harmful bladder bacteria, which in turn, reduces a person's chances of developing a urinary tract infection (UTI).     

5. Helps Regulate Body Temperature  

When a person is well-hydrated, they have a greater ability to tolerate hot temperatures because their body won't store as much heat. Being sufficiently hydrated means their built-in cooling mechanism (sweating), will have what it needs to efficiently cool down their body during times of excess heat and/or exertion. 

6. Helps Improve Heart Health 

Improved heart health is another reason why you should stay hydrated. The Cleveland Clinic notes that water makes up 90% of human blood. If a person doesn't receive sufficient water, it can cause an imbalance in the bloodstream of key electrolytes (e.g., sodium, potassium). Maintaining the right balance of water and electrolytes in your bloodstream is important in order to maintain proper heart function.   

7. Water Can Reduce Headache Frequency 

bigstock-Sad-Sick-Elderly-Woman-With-He-432429962Especially as a person ages, even a mild loss of fluids can lead to occurrences of migraines or headaches in some individuals. This occurs because dehydration can lead a person's brain to contract away from their skull. Staying well-hydrated can help prevent these types of events from occurring.

8.  Water Helps Optimize Energy Levels 

If a person isn't getting enough fluids, it slows down their blood circulation. This causes the heart to work harder, and it reduces the flow of oxygen to the brain. Conversely, when a person gets enough fluids every day, their heart is able to do its job properly and their brain receives enough oxygen. In turn, the person will feel more energized and alert since their heart doesn't have to work harder than necessary, and their brain is receiving the oxygen (and hydration) it needs to maintain optimal performance. 

How Much Water Does a Person Need?

Traditional advice states that a person should drink 64 ounces of water every day. However, it's a good idea to talk to your doctor about what would be the ideal amount for your particular circumstances. Based upon your body weight, the medication you take, and/or the amount of exercise in which you engage, your doctor may suggest a different level of hydration to support your individual needs.

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