Home Healthy Aging How to Hydrate Fast – 5 Simple Ways

How to Hydrate Fast – 5 Simple Ways

by Donna Schwontkowski
senior couple staying hydrated

Proper hydration must be considered for seniors not only in the summer but all year round. Knowing how to hydrate fast is important when you’re severely dehydrated. It’s more critical in the summer when temperatures hit the 80s and above, and high humidity has you sweating buckets.

Summer is when people most often think of being dehydrated, because they’re sweating, but winter is also a time when dehydration runs rampant. Indoor heat is dry, dressing warm can cause you to sweat, and you’re not carrying around water being mindful of drinking.

This article will tell you the basics of hydration and explore what you need to know about water depletion in your body with examples of some rehydration solutions as well.

What Happens in Dehydration

Your body is made up of water – more than 2/3 of it is water! This water helps with digestion, flushes out toxins and wastes, creates saliva, lubricates your joints and vertebral disks, lubricates your eyes, and keep your skin healthy looking.

Dehydration is a state in the body when you lose more fluid than you take in. You take in fluid from coffee, tea, beverages, food, and water. You lose fluid from sweating, working out (your muscles generate heat that needs to be cooled via sweat), diarrhea, urination, consumption of alcohol, and normal body metabolism. For example, the process of losing weight takes a lot of water to be successful.

If your body water percentage falls, your blood volume will decrease. This makes it harder for your heart to pump blood through your body and causes retention of water in your kidneys. The longer you go without enough water, the greater the amount of fluid you are losing around your brain

Because water is so essential, dehydration can be a serious condition. There are stages of dehydration and in the final stages, death occurs. It’s not the happy type of death that anyone wants.

Early signs of dehydration may occur even if you have lost only 1.5% of the water you need. Some of the symptoms include the following:

  • thirst
  • feeling lightheaded
  • muscle cramps
  • fever
  • headache
  • dry or flushed skin
  • mouth is dry
  • tiredness
  • urination is less than usual
  • urine has a strong smell and is dark-colored

Later stages of dehydration include the following:

  • not passing urine for 8 hours
  • rapid heart beat
  • dizziness upon standing that doesn’t go away shortly thereafter
  • seizures
  • brain damage
  • death

When you are suffering from dehydration, it changes the balance of minerals and electrolytes in your body, which affects the way it functions. It’s these imbalances that are responsible for causing death.

How Much Water Should You Consume Daily

senior man exercising outdoor

The amount of water that you need to consume daily is 1 ounce for every 2 pounds of body weight. That is generally considered the minimum. The following table gives you a quick glance on how much you need for your body weight.

Current WeightMinimal Water IntakeRough Conversion to Cups
250 lbs125 ounces15.75 cups (close to 4 quarts)
230 lbs115 ounces14.5 cups (3 quarts 2.5 cups)
200 lbs100 ounces12.5 cups (3 quarts ½ cup)
175 lbs88 ounces11 cups (2 quarts 3 cups)
160 lbs80 ounces10 cups (2-1/2 quarts)
150 lbs75 ounces9.5 cups (2 quarts 1.5 cups)
140 lbs70 ounces9 cups (2 quarts 1 cup)
125 lbs63 ounces8 cups (2 quarts)
110 lbs55 ounces7 cups (1 quart 3 cups)
100 lbs50 ounces6.25 cups (1 quart 2.25 cups)

The minimal water intake can include other beverages, including coffee and tea, if your objective is to hydrate quickly. Again, the above chart is a general guidelines for minimums. If it is exceptionally warm, you are outside working, or you are exercising, you should consume more water than the daily minimum.

How Long Does It Take to Rehydrate?

Rehydration is quick if you go to the emergency room or hospital to get an IV. An IV puts fluid directly into your bloodstream which then adds water to your cells, allowing them to soak up the water. In this regard, it takes about 30 minutes to rehydrate the body.

When you rehydrate on your own, you should feel better in a few hours, but it could take up to three days to fully rehydrate if you are starting from a severely dehydrated state. This means you will have to give it a concerted effort to continue drinking water even though you begin to feel better.

How to Hydrate Fast

If you want to rehydrate quickly you need to focus on replenishing fluids and electrolytes.

hydration reminder drink more water

1) Drink Water

This may seem obvious, even too obvious, but it’s the simplest, easiest, and cheapest way to hydrate quickly. Water is what your body needs more than anything. Fill up a quart-sized bottle with water and drink it within a few hours.

2) Drink Coffee and Tea

As long as you drink less than three cups coffee and five cups of tea, coffee and tea will help contribute to your water intake without dehydrating you or acting as a diuretic. The idea that coffee dehydrates you has been debunked as a myth.

These drinks are added to the list because they are so widely consumed. Some people simply don’t like drinking water, but they love drinking coffee. The problem is if you’re trying to rehydrate near bedtime. At that point, caffeinated drinks pose a problem.

3) Drink Milk

Milk is great for rehydration. Skim or low fat milk is helpful because of its high water content, carbs, and electrolytes.

4) Eat Fruits and Vegetables

Everyone knows that there’s nothing more refreshing than watermelon or cucumbers on a hot day, but other fruits and vegetables high in water include berries, melons, oranges, grapes, lettuce, cabbage and spinach.

Following is a chart of the percentage of water in selected foods.

Percentage WaterFood
90-99%Fat-free milk, cantaloupe, strawberries, watermelon, lettuce, cabbage, pickles, squash (cooked), cabbage
80-89%Fruit juice, yogurt, apples, grapes, oranges, carrots, broccoli, pears, pineapple
70-79%Bananas, avocados, cottage cheese, ricotta cheese, baked potato, corn, shrimp
60-69%Pasta, legumes, salmon, ice cream, chicken breast
50-59%Ground beef, hot dogs, feta cheese, tenderloin steak

Source: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2908954/table/T1/

5) Drink Oral Hydration Formulas

These are specialized formulas used to prevent dehydration when people are generally affected by diarrhea or vomiting. The goal with these is to provide the electrolytes.

oral rehydration therapy

Oral rehydration solutions are created by different companies and usually consist of water, sugar, and salt as the basic ingredients. The sugar is usually in the form of dextrose.

These drink mixes have benefits, but when consumed too frequently their ingredients can create problems.

The American Heart Association recommends that women consume no more than 24 grams (6 teaspoons) of sugar daily to prevent heart disease and other degenerative diseases such as diabetes. For men, it’s nine teaspoons. Consuming oral rehydration solutions would mean you are not allowed any additional sugar the rest of the day if you are a woman and you have consumed 2/3 of what you need for the day if you are a man.

From a clinical nutritionist’s point of view the 6 or 9 teaspoons is still a lot! Yet the average American adult consumes about 77 grams of sugar per day.

Electrolytes do go into the body via water but they also go in quite well with real food. There is no real food – and thus no real nourishment going into the body with the basic oral rehydration formula. In fact, the sugar is robbing the body of other nutrients, such as B vitamins and minerals.

rehydration drink mixes

When considering drinks for rehydration, there are many on the market. Below is a list of some of the top ones:

1) Liquid IV Electrolyte Powder

Liquid IV is billed as a “hydration multiplier,” and it’s the best-selling product on Amazon in the Sports Nutrition Electrolyte Replacement Drinks category. The taste is mild and the product contains no artificial ingredients. The manufacturer boasts that it has 3 times the amount of electrolytes as traditional sports drinks and 5 essential vitamins. It also claims to hydrate the body faster than water alone.

Liquid I.V. Hydration Multiplier - Lemon Lime - Hydration Powder Packets | Electrolyte Powder Drink Mix | Easy Open Single-Serving Sticks | Non-GMO | 1 Pack (16 Servings)
  • Liquid I.V. Hydration Multiplier – Helps you hydrate 2x faster than water alone with Hydration Multiplier, a great-tasting electrolyte drink powder with five essential vitamins and 3x the electrolytes of traditional sports drinks. Whether you’re in need of hydration for exercise, travel, or long nights, Liquid I.V. Hydration Multiplier packets have you covered.
  • Great taste -Lemon Lime Hydration Multiplier is the flavor that started it all. This sunny mix of citrus flavors is equal parts zesty and refreshing. An instant fan favorite.

Like most hydration mixes on the market, it comes in small packets that are small and easy to transport. You can mix them in a water bottle when you are feeling particularly dehydrated.

2) Nuun Sport Electrolyte Tablets

Nuun Sport is another electrolyte-rich product designed to be added to water. It differs slightly in that it’s not in powder form but in dissolving tablet form. For some, this might be more convenient than powder. You drop the tablet into your water bottle and let it fizz as it dissolves. Then drink.

Nuun Sport Electrolyte Tablets for Proactive Hydration, Mixed Citrus Berry Flavors, 4 Pack (40 Servings)
  • Nuun Sport is an Electrolyte-Rich Sports Drink Tablet, enhanced with electrolytes and bursting with delicious fruity flavor. Mix with water for a hydrating beverage to keep you powering through your next workout
  • Nuun Sport Drink Tablets enhance your workout and/or your work day naturally through improved hydration. Keep a tube in your gym bag, car, purse, hiking pack or anywhere you'll want to mix up a healthy, replenishing drink. Gluten free

As of this writing, this product has almost 34,000 reviews on Amazon averaging 4.5 stars. For people concerned about allergens, Nuun Sport tablets have no artificial flavors or colors, it’s dairy free, gluten free, and soy free.

3) LMNT Keto Electrolyte Powder Packets

This product is unique from the others because in addition to various flavors, it has a raw, unflavored version as well. This is particularly good if you have a drink that you already enjoy and don’t want to corrupt the taste with flavored hydration mixes.

LMNT Zero-Sugar Electrolytes - Citrus Salt - Hydration Powder Packets | No Artificial Ingredients | Keto & Paleo Friendly | 30 Sticks
  • THE BEST ELECTROLYTE DRINK MIX EVER: LMNT is a tasty electrolyte drink mix with everything you need and nothing you don't. LMNT is perfect for anyone interested in a keto, low-carb or intermittent fasting lifestyle, and a gluten-free diet. Our electrolyte supplement fights against the low-carb fatigue and keto fog to keep energy levels high
  • WINTER HYDRATION NEEDS: Hydration is critical during the colder months; due to drier air, cold-induced diuresis, or a simple lack of water, it's important to stay salty year round. When spending time at or below freezing temps, be mindful that you likely need to intake more electrolytes even when you're not necessarily feeling thirsty

Their marketing angle for this product is that it works with the Keto diet, stating, “LMNT is perfect for anyone interested in a keto, low-carb or intermittent fasting lifestyle, and a gluten-free diet.”

This may be good for people following a strict low-carb diet, but remember that if fast hydration is your goal, carbs can influence fluid retention following exercise-induced dehydration.

4) Seeking Health Vegan Electrolyte Powder

here we have another product trying for a unique marketing angle – vegan. The ingredients are simple enough: Niacin, Magnesium, Sodium, Potassium, Taurine, and Creatine. Other ingredients include malic acid, natural flavors, calcium silicate, natural coloring, and monk fruit extract.

Seeking Health Optimal Electrolyte Single-Serving Stick Packs, Berry Flavor, Healthy Energy and Endurance Support, Promotes Hydration and Healthy Muscles, Vegan and Vegetarian (30 Count)*
  • Hydration and energy: Optimal Electrolyte single-serving stick packs are strategically formulated to promote all-day hydration and energy. Key nutrients synergistically support healthy ATP (energy) production and electrolyte balance
  • Comprehensive formulation: Contains essential electrolytes, including niacin, magnesium, and creatine to support energy production, muscle repair, and cognition & clarity. Also formulated with sodium & potassium to support hydration

This product is not as popular or as widely sold as the other products listed here and there are fewer reviews and product details.

5) DripDrop ORS Hydration Packets

DripDrop is a doctor-created formula that was born while on a relief mission. It has electrolytes and glucose for “fast rehydration relief.” It also contains potassium, magnesium, zinc, and Vitamin C for added immunity boosting. It claims to work like an IV, helping mood and improving performance, but all of these drink mixes act in similar ways.

DripDrop Hydration - Electrolyte Powder Packets - Watermelon, Berry, Orange, Lemon - 16 Count
  • PATENTED, DOCTOR-DEVELOPED FORMULA - Dr. Eduardo Dolhun developed DripDrop to help with dehydration where IV therapy wasn’t available. The invention was such a breakthrough DripDrop’s formula received a U.S. Patent, and Dr. Dolhun was awarded the 2017 Mayo Clinic Alumni Association Humanitarian Award. And now, as a Public Benefit Corporation on a mission to defeat dehydration globally, we use your purchases to generate life-saving donations of DripDrop to those who need it most.
  • ORS ELECTROLYTE POWDER - DripDrop’s patented formula uses ORS science to activate a hydration shortcut known as the sodium-glucose cotransport system. Accelerating fluid absorption into the bloodstream 2-3x so you can feel better faster. And, unlike most electrolyte drink mixes, it tastes amazing.

Remembering the basic principles of what nutrients are needed to rehydrate the body, you’ll see that these are a bit lacking in their approach to the dehydration problem. If time permits, you’d be better off creating your own formula!

How to Stay Hydrated

Of course, the best way to hydrate quickly is to avoid dehydration altogether. There are simple ways to do this and simply involved some basic lifestyle changes.

Improve Water Absorption with Fiber

You can improve the water absorption in your body by making sure you have enough fiber in your diet. Fiber holds water and pulls the water to itself, thus keeping it in your body.

You can drink on an empty stomach. One of the best times to drink water is when you first wake up in the morning. Make it a habit to get a quart down in the first hour of your day.

Get enough sleep. If you sleep six hours or less, you have a 59% greater chance of becoming dehydrated, according to a study in a sleep journal.

Limit Dehydrating Activities

Here’s what to do to help yourself stay hydrated:

  1. When you are thirsty, drink. Don’t wait.
  2. When your mouth is dry on the inside, drink.
  3. Set a goal. A general rule is over 11 cups for females and over 15 cups water per day for males.
  4. When you exercise, add another ½ to 1 quart per hour of exercise

Stay Hydrated Overnight

To stay hydrated overnight, stop all caffeine intake by 3 pm. Don’t drink alcohol three hours or less before bedtime, and if you do have alcohol during the day, add 8 oz water for every alcoholic beverage drunk.

Make sure the temperature in your bedroom is not too warm. If warm, you’ll sweat and then be more prone to dehydration. Also, have a bottle of water on your bedside table – and use it!

Who is Most At Risk for Dehydration

Most at risk for dehydration are those at the opposite ends of the aging scale: infants, children, and seniors. Seniors may have medical conditions that make it easier to become dehydrated and also may be on medications that cause dehydration. Blood pressure medications are notorious for this. Seniors suffering from dementia may also struggle to get enough water in. That’s why manufacturers have made products specifically for them – jelly drops, but there are alternatives to jelly drops that are better.

You can beat dehydration. Make smart choices about what you do and you’ll soon see how easy it is. Knowledge is power.

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