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WaterI’ve developed a bit of a hydration problem. Ever since I started having stomach problems, I can’t drink anything really cold. I can’t guzzle, either. At the same time, I’ve started exercising more. So it’s kind of a double whammy.

I used to think you’d be fine as long as you drank when you got thirsty. Turns out I was wrong. Thirst is like a faulty gas gauge. It’s a rough indicator at best.

The older you get, the slower your thirst is to kick in. So your “gas gauge” gets less and less accurate. Even worse, something else happens at the same time. With age, your body gets worse at conserving water. So your tank empties faster while your gas gauge gets more erratic.

Severe dehydration is a medical emergency. The level of dehydration I’ve been dealing with – and you’re more likely to face – is more along the lines of a pain in the neck.

Well, a pain in the head, actually.

Because headaches are one of the signs of dehydration. You might get a little dizzy or lightheaded, too. And you’re more likely to feel fatigued or sleepy when you don’t get enough water.

Dehydration can also lead to dry skin… which is both uncomfortable and unattractive. And speaking of uncomfortable, you may also find yourself constipated. (Dry stool is not something you want to experience. Trust me.)

Now, H.B. and I don’t want to just live longer. We want to live well longer. We want to go on enjoying the activities we love – like travel, hiking and outdoor photography. So we’re even paying attention to “minor” issues – like mild dehydration.

Urine output and color are better indicators of dehydration than thirst. The average person has to urinate 6 – 8 times a day. Going only 3 or 4 times a day – or output of less than usual – may be a sign of dehydration.

Ordinarily, urine is almost clear or pale yellow. If your urine is darker, it may be a sign of dehydration. But not always. Taking vitamins can add a yellow tint to urine.

If your urine is a darker yellow than usual – especially if your output is down – everything I’ve read says there’s a good chance you may be dehydrated.

I’ve been taking steps to avoid dehydration. When I was younger, I didn’t bother carrying water on runs of less than 10 miles. Now I carry a bottle – and usually polish it off – even if I’m just running half that distance. On my occasional 10-mile runs, I carry two bottles.

I’ve found if water’s handy, I’ll drink. So I keep a glass of water on my desk most of the time. Some days, I sip my way through 3 or 4 extra glasses of water this way.

Finally, I learned a little trick from our Best Life Herbals Wellness Team.

I never liked those electrolyte replacement drinks. The flavors are awful, and I found them hard to keep down.

But then I read one of Best Life Herbals Wellness Team’s articles about coconut water. It has a good balance of the minerals you lose when you sweat… it’s even easier on your stomach than water… and it’s 100% natural.

So, sometimes when it’s really hot, or I’m working really hard, I drink coconut water. So far, it’s worked well for me.

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