Are you getting enough water every day?

It’s an important question for everyone, especially when temperatures are high outdoors.

It’s even more key for older people – and still more relevant for older people who are physically active (which we certainly hope you are).

The common refrain is usually that people should drink 8 ounces of water 8 times a day. That’s a good baseline to start with, but it varies for everyone, especially for older people who exercise and enjoy being outdoors.

Why are older people more apt to get dehydrated?

Simply put, we lose our ability to feel thirst as we age, and our kidneys often decline in function. For some seniors, just getting up and down for a glass of water can be difficult, and others can easily forget, with or without dementia. Further, some medications add to the problem with common side effects.

Older people who exercise can also have a heightened risk of getting dehydrated. You might sweat more than you realize, causing your body to hold onto water it needs for basic functioning – which can lead to cramped muscles.

Dehydration in the heat can also cause dizziness, headache, impaired memory and concentration, and constipation.

Remember that during summer months, you can always exercise indoors – at a fitness center, or even walking in a mall.

To be sure you’re getting enough water, drink plenty before, during and after exercise. Add a sports drink with electrolytes and sodium, which will replace what your body loses. Fruit and vegetables generally have a high concentration of water, too.

Just remember to drink up – and never wait until you’re thirsty.