But, There’s A Free Miracle Drug You Can Take.

You can live better when you're hydrated. Credit: TreeHugger
You can live better when you’re hydrated.
Credit: TreeHugger

At the risk of sounding like a spam email headline, I have re-discovered a miracle drug. It’s completely free, it acts quickly, and it can be found anywhere and everywhere. It’s a drug that can directly change your life for the better. I say re-discovered because I knew about this drug, loved its restorative properties, but like many things, I took it for granted and thoughtlessly stopped taking it as much as I should have, especially this summer. The impact of stopping was immediate and perplexing.

Of course, I’m talking about water. And what happened to me just over the summer is what can happen to any senior who is active. You forget to or ignore taking a water bottle to the gym, or you don’t drink after a walk or bike ride. You don’t ask for water with a meal. You spend a sunny day on the water fishing, sailing, kayaking, drinking sodas or beer with a sandwich.

You probably don’t think much about drinking water, but if anyone asks you why you don’t, your rationale is brilliant. Mine was: I have enough coffee, wine, tea, etc. during the week to keep me floating, or that water with a meal takes away my appetite, or I don’t like the taste of water at home because the well is low. (Common in parts of New England these days.)

Or glasses of water are for kids, right?

For me—a fairly active senior, the result of ignoring to hydrate was not positive. My symptoms: Logy, headache, irritability, lower than normal blood pressure (got a heads up during a routine visit), rapid resting heart rate, musty, dark-ish urine, and frequent, yes, frequent urination. I never once connected these to my being dehydrated, just getting a little more senior by the day.

But what signaled that I might have a hydration problem was a gym class instructor mentioning in passing that stiff joints might come from not having enough water onboard. Click. I had developed stiff joints and muscles this summer. I found walking a distance challenging because my hip flexors, psoas, hamstrings and glutes were tightened up. Stretching didn’t seem to help as much as it should have. I thought I was the victim of sitting at a desk for long stretches. That contributed, but lack of drinking water as a clear accomplice.

Expensive water bottle, insulated, vacuum. Credit: LL Bean
Expensive HydroFlask water bottle, insulated, vacuum.
Credit: LL Bean

My remedy is to start drinking water again, simple as that. I now have at

Reasonably priced, Nalgene water bottle. Credit: LL Bean
Reasonably priced, Nalgene water bottle.
Credit: LL Bean

least three eight-oz. glasses before noon and three after. I use spring water to replace the mineral-filled well water. When I first started this regimen, the results were immediate. I felt more alert, energetic, upbeat, and the muscle/joint stiffness—combined with dutiful and targeted stretching—is gradually going away. At least, this is working for me. Your mileage may vary.

I am not a medical professional, but I’ve learned that most seniors tend to walk around in a dehydrated state. Medications, living at high altitude, certain conditions like diabetes, just getting older can all contribute to dehydration. And forgetting to drink.

Easy tips from MedicalNewsToday:

  • Drink water, juice or milk at each meal.
  • Moderate how much coffee, tea, alcohol you drink. They are diuretics, and, to varying extents, take water out of your body.
  • Drink small amounts of water frequently throughout the day.
  • Drink small amounts during a workout as well as after to replace what you lose in sweat.
  • Consider an electrolyte-type drink.

Final tip: Buy an expensive water bottle so you feel guilty if you don’t use it; keep it full and handy.

If you have symptoms or questions, see your primary care physician.

 

4 Comments

  1. Great article Mike and so very true. We all need to drink more. I learned the hard way with a kidney stone. Not fun.

  2. Important topic and great article!
    The whole concept of Camelback company was built on “drink when you want” idea years ago, and now it is a big money project.
    Now many other companies make soft bottles/water bladders and backpacks compatible with them. DaKine even makes special insulated drink tubes for cold weather.
    In the US you can find a water fountain next to every bathroom, and by law every restaurant must give you free water. But in Europe the situation is completely different. Keep that in mind traveling overseas.

    In the mountains (and in high altitude conditions especially) “drink when you want and drink when you don’t (want)”.

  3. Jack Murray says:

    And if you don’t get dehydrated you won’t get kidney stones, as I learned the hard way.

  4. Jack Murray says:

    And if you don’t get dehydrated you won’t get kidney stones, as I learned the hard way.

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