How Water Affects the Aging Body
Though aging is a process that everyone must go through at some point, some of the more harmful and debilitating factors of the aging process can be managed through the drinking of water. We have all heard that drinking water is good for you, but do you really know how vital it is to your body? About 60% of our body weight is water, and about 80% of our brain is water! Losing even a small amount of the water in our bodies to dehydration can drastically affect our cognition and the processes of our cells.
Many of the main symptoms of aging can also be traced to cell-based processes that depend on water. Water is a key means of transportation in our bodies. From carrying nutrients and genetic information throughout our cells, to flushing toxins from the liver and kidneys, to providing cushions for our joints, water does most of the work that keeps us feeling energized and strong. It even boosts our memory—one of the biggest concerns related to aging.
If you want to mitigate some of the signs of aging, one of the simplest and most effective preventative habits is to drink more water!
How Water Helps the Body
An obvious sign of aging that many people are concerned with is wrinkles. Very often these are associated with being older. But drinking more water helps keep your cells full, which then makes your skin more elastic and less likely to wrinkle and dry out. We can see this concept in action in nature. When plants need to be watered, they wilt, and their leaves and stems lose color and stability. But after being watered, they perk right back up! The same goes for our skin.
When we are dehydrated, the toxins and waste in our cells aren’t disposed of as quickly. When those contaminants sit in our bodies, they affect many other processes, and can even cause our cells to deteriorate. These toxins then sit in our veins and can lead to clogged arteries and unlubricated, stiff joints.
If we get sick, our bodies often retain water to promote the healing process. That’s why it’s always a good idea to stay hydrated when you come down with an illness. Your body wants to flush it out, so drinking some water can help it get the job done faster.
Water and the Aging Brain
The prevention of many degenerative conditions, like Alzheimer's, where connections between cells in the brain weaken and harm cognitive function, can be aided by drinking water. Our brain cells shrink and function less efficiently when we are dehydrated, so keeping them in good shape by consistently drinking water can keep your brain healthier for longer.
In the elderly, it is especially vital to drink water, but many can find it difficult to remember. Because the connections in our brain aren’t as likely to work efficiently as we age, sometimes our bodies won’t respond as quickly to notify us of dehydration through thirst. Certain medications can also exacerbate dehydration, so it’s especially important to drink even more water, even when you don’t feel thirsty, as you grow older.
Conditions like arthritis can also be worsened when there is a lack of water in the body. Dehydrated joints grow rough, and because dehydration affects the whole body’s ability to heal, cartilage often cannot be efficiently formed to soften the impact of these impaired joints.
When you are dehydrated, processes all over the body suffer. And with the added damages of the aging process, not drinking enough water can have detrimental effects. As we age, we should all be employing practices to boost our hydration. One of these helpful actions is to make clean, safe water more accessible in your home.