Athletes know that hydration is crucial to maintaining peak performance because water helps to regulate the body temperature. Water also helps lubricate the joints.
According to a study, even seniors need to stay hydrated when exercising because it can help them “reap the full cognitive benefits of exercise.”
The researchers involved in the study delved deeper into the connection between hydration status before engaging in physical activities and exercise-enhanced cognition among the elderly.
The researchers, who hailed from New England, said, “Middle-age and older adults often display a blunted thirst perception, which places them at risk for dehydration and subsequently may reduce the cognitive health-related benefits of exercise.”(Related: Need another reason to drink more water? Check out these amazing health benefits.)
For the study, the scientists observed a group of recruited recreational cyclists. The participants had an average age of 55, and the group joined a large cycling event on a warm day, with the temperature measuring 78 to 86 degrees F.
The cyclists took part in a “trail-making” executive function test where they were instructed to quickly and correctly connect numbered dots on a piece of paper using a pencil. The test was done before and after the event.
Executive function involves the skills required to “plan, focus, remember and multitask.” Regular exercise can help boost intellectual health and executive function.
The research team tested urine samples from the participants before they exercised. The volunteers were also divided into two groups, the first being normally hydrated with the second being dehydrated, based on hydration status.
People from the normal hydration group had a significantly improved completion time for the trail-making test after cycling, especially when compared to their pre-cycling test results.
Even though the individuals in the dehydrated group also finished the post-cycling test faster, the time reduction wasn’t that noticeable compared to the first group.
The results of the study implied that the elderly must stay hydrated to significantly lower cognitive fatigue. Seniors must also stay hydrated while exercising to potentially maximize the benefits of regular physical activity.
The benefits of staying hydrated
Aside from boosting brain function, staying hydrated offers other benefits like:
- Giving you an energy boost — Proper hydration can help boost energy and this is a benefit crucial for seniors. A lot of older individuals may slow down due to fatigue even if they live a mostly sedentary lifestyle.
- Improving digestion — As we age, we are more likely to develop digestive problems and constipation because the digestive tract doesn’t work as efficiently compared to when we are younger. This is often the reason why the elderly have diarrhea, gas, peptic ulcer, and stomach cramps. Drinking more water can help treat digestive issues and lower the risk of constipation in older individuals.
- Preventing kidney/renal disease — Dehydration is a major cause of kidney disease. Drinking more water can help the elderly prevent urinary incontinence. If an individual is properly hydrated, the kidney can have an easier time filtering and flushing toxins from the blood. A hydrated person will be able to urinate frequently, which can lower their chance of having kidney problems and urinary tract infections (UTI).
- Promoting better health – By drinking more water, a senior can limit their visits to the hospital, especially since dehydration is linked to different health problems. The elderly are more susceptible to dehydration, and this means that they have a higher chance of developing heat-related problems that require immediate medical attention.
You can learn more about how hydration and regular exercise can help you live longer at Longevity.news.