Hydration at every age
As we age, and our bodies grow and develop, our need for hydration adjusts according to our increasingly changing lives. It can be hard to keep up with monitoring the levels of hydration that our body needs to function, and even harder when it is our responsibility to hydrate others. In this week’s blog, we’ll be discussing how each age range requires hydrating, as well as potential barriers to doing so.
Perhaps children’s lives are a lot less busy than ours, they don’t have appointments to get to, work to attend, or responsibilities to check on, but this does not mean they are less active! As children charge about, dispelling energy, they deplete their water reserves dramatically. Children have a higher proportion of body water than any age group, so it is, therefore, very important that they recoup this loss.
Children under the age of eight require, on average, five glasses of water each day. As children age, a gender difference develops in the volume of water required. When children are between the ages of nine and thirteen, girls require seven glasses of water per day, whereas boys require eight. These are, however, mere guidelines. As the temperature increases, or children’s physical activity levels increase, their water intake must also!
Teenage-hood is a critical period of growth, and dehydration at this stage can affect an individuals brain structure and function. As teenagers take increasingly important exams that could shape their futures, they must remain hydrated to keep their focus and improve their grades. In fact, students who take bottles of water into exams perform, on average, 5% better than those who do not. Between the ages of 14 – 18, teenage boys should drink around eleven glasses of water per day, and girls around eight.
For more information on why hydration is so important for students and young people, check our blog on hydration in education here.
As we age and enter the varied world of work, our bodies are put under increasing amounts of pressure, sometimes from external sources, but also from ourselves! We find ourselves in offices and work environments which may feature air conditioning, heating, caffeinated beverages, and hectic schedules, none of which are particularly conducive to remembering to stop by the watercooler and hydrate. If you’d like to check if you’re drinking enough water whilst at work, you can read our handy guide here.
Young adults are also more likely than other age groups to drink alcohol. Alcohol decreases the production of an anti-diuretic hormone which is used by our bodies to absorb water, thus reducing our hydration levels – and going some way to explaining the dreaded hangover!
Between the ages of 16-30, men should be consuming around 3.7 litres of fluid a day, and women around 2.7 litres of fluid per day, and 81% of these should be from (non-alcoholic!) beverages. However, we need to increase these levels considerably if we’re in an environment that features air condition, if we are more physically active, or if we’ve consumed caffeine or alcohol.
As we get older, hydration becomes increasingly important. Older adults have reduced thirst signals, and are more likely to experience acute or chronic illness. With hydration playing a vital role in the healing process, it is crucial for elderly adults to drink eight glasses of water a day.
There are significant barriers to older people remaining hydrated, indeed, a recent study of older adults in residential care found that 46% of residents observed has either impending or current dehydration. As well as experiencing reduced thirst signals, older people are much more likely to have difficulty with their memories, and therefore are more likely to either forget to drink, or struggle to recall how much they have already drunk. They may also endure mobility problems, creating a physical barrier to hydration.
Hydration is for everyone!
If there’s one thing that unites us, across all ages, is that remaining hydrated is essential to our physical and mental wellbeing. We function better when we’ve drunk an adequate amount of water, whether it’s still, or sparkling.
If you’d like to discuss upgrading your workplace hydration, whether it’s in a school, boardroom, or residential home, contact Borg & Overstrom today.