Grassland Beef - U.S. Wellness Meats
  1. Discover Blog
  2. /
  3. Health & Fitness
  4. /
  5. Hydration Magic: The Hidden Power Behind...

Hydration Magic: The Hidden Power Behind Aging Gracefully and Thriving

girl offering water, hydration

By Kelley Herring

Water, the elixir of life, isn’t just a component in the background of our bodies’ operations. It takes center stage in the grand biochemical scene that keeps us vibrant and active.

In this two-part article, you’ll discover how our bodies actually hydrate, and the key factors that impact hydration levels as we age.

You’ll also discover how even mild dehydration can impact everything from the texture of your skin and comfort of your joints, to your mood and even your risk for diseases.

Finally, you’ll learn the simple strategies to help you optimize hydration, ensuring your body is running on all cylinders for your best health into your golden years.

Without further ado, let’s dive into…

The Science of Hydration

When you zoom in on the cellular level, you can see our bodies are like a bustling city of biochemical action, and water isn’t content just sitting on the sidelines. In fact, good old H20 is a key player in these actions, making it an essential component in our body’s moment-to-moment enzymatic tasks.

But water’s importance doesn’t end there. Water molecules act like the ultimate ride-sharing service for nutrients and waste products, boosting cellular nutrition and clearing harmful substances from your body.1 The result, healthier more efficient cells and better overall detoxification.

Water also acts as your body’s personal thermostat. When things heat up, water orchestrates sweat production to dissipate heat and cool you down.

And if you’re concerned about your body composition, take note: Even mild dehydration can throw off your metabolic rate. In fact, studies show that when you’re not hydrated enough, your metabolic rate can plummet, impacting your energy balance and weight management goals.2

Now let’s take a look at how the body holds water, and how hydration shifts as we age, impacting our health and wellness…

glass of water, hydration

Your Flowing Fluid Symphony

Imagine your body as a building, with each room being a fluid compartment that has a special role. Collectively, this is called the “body’s fluid matrix”.

And despite the many “rooms” where fluid collects water does what water tends to do: Flow!

In fact, studies have revealed that water content isn’t just a static thing—it moves between intracellular and extracellular spaces. And as the years go by, your water content becomes a bit of a shape-shifter.

Changes in things like your lean body mass (your body’s muscle-to-fat ratio) and where those fat (adipose) tissues decide to set up camp have a big impact on your overall hydration.3

And water distribution is the secret to staying in great health as you age.

grass cattle browse all natural pasture raised banner

Aging and the Challenges of Hydration

Let’s explore the four key challenges of staying hydrated as we age…

The first is thirst – that little tap on your shoulder that says: “Hey, time to hydrate”. Unfortunately, as we age, this vital signal isn’t as strong as it used to be. In fact, studies show our thirst sensitivity volume knob gets turned down a notch with age.

The result? You might not hear the thirst alarm ringing as loudly as before, resulting in dehydration.4

Next, let’s look at your body’s VIP fluid regulators: The kidneys.

Like a hostess at the hydration party, your kidneys make sure everyone’s staying well-hydrated. But the kidneys, with age, can start to slow down. This can mean they’re not as efficient at balancing the water flow, leading to potential electrolyte impairments and fluid imbalances.5

And those fluid imbalances can have serious effects too. The younger you had more water inside your cells (intracellular). But as the years add up, the collective fluid inside your body tends to hang out more in the outside world—the extracellular compartments, impeding the processes of waste clearance and cellular nutrition.6

Finally, let’s take a look at the fine-tuners of fluid balance: Electrolytes!

Essential electrolytes, like sodium and potassium, are the real rockstars of hydration. By fine-tuning the fluid balance, electrolytes ensure all systems are a go.

But aging can impact electrolyte concentrations, reducing the efficiency at which your cells perform and, ultimately, how you’re feeling.7

Now you have a solid understanding of the science behind hydration and the challenges that come with the progressing years. Stay tuned for part two, where you’ll discover the beautifying and age-defying secrets of hydration, plus tips and tricks to help keep your cells quenched!

Read more of Kelley Herring’s health and wellness articles on our Discover Blog.

kelley herring

Kelley Herring

Cook healthier meals in a fraction of the time with Kelley’s newest program Instant Pot Keto. Inside you’ll discover 100+ ketogenic recipes made with the magic of the Instant Pot, all designed to provide superior nutrition and metabolic balance. Get your copy of Instant Pot Keto today!


1 Johnson EC, Muñoz CX, Jimenez L, et al. Hormonal and Thirst Modulation of Fluid Loss During Exercise. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2018;50(5):910-919.

2 Thornton SN. Thirst and Hydration: Physiology and Consequences of Dysfunction. Physiol Rev. 2010;90(2):849-881.

3 Takahashi T, Higashibata A, Kawano F, et al. Intracellular Water Changes During Aging. Gerontology. 2015;61(3):210-218.

4 Kenney WL, Chiu P. Influence of Age on Thirst and Fluid Intake. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2001;33(9):1524-1532.

5 Denic A, Glassock RJ, Rule AD. Structural and Functional Changes With the Aging Kidney. Adv Chronic Kidney Dis. 2016;23(1):19-28.

6 Takahashi T, Higashibata A, Kawano F, et al. Intracellular Water Changes During Aging. Gerontology. 2015;61(3):210-218.

7 Lang F, Busch GL, Ritter M, Völkl H, Waldegger S, Gulbins E. Functional Significance of Cell Volume Regulatory Mechanisms. Physiol Rev. 1998;78(1):247-306.