Drink More Water
What is it about?
Water is essential to life, no one can survive without it. Our body is approximately 60 percent water so if we don’t replenish what we expel throughout the day we’re on the road to dehydration. Headaches, fatigue, dry mouth, irritability, digestive disorder… even a light dehydration can have many detrimental effects on our health.
Despite the fact that water is the cheapest and healthiest drink we can get, many of us aren’t drinking nearly enough. So, how can we be sure we stay hydrated throughout the day?
Benefits of a proper water intake
Staying hydrated and providing the right amount of water to your body has many benefits:
- It boosts immunity by flushing out toxins
- It reduces hunger sensation, helping weight loss
- It reduces muscles fatigue
- It boosts energy, mood, and mental clarity
- It improves digestion and kidney function
- It minimizes muscle cramps and aching joints
Quantity and frequency
The quantity of water your body needs varies depending on factors such as physical activity, weight, and weather. For example, if you are outside on a hot day you may need to double your water intake. Adequate intake of water (from all sources, not just pure water) is considered to be 2.7 liters per day for women, 3.7 per day for men.
As a good rule of thumb, base your drinking habit on the 8×8 rule: drink eight 8-ounce cups of water throughout the day (for a total of 1.88 liters). For example, you can drink 1 ounce every hour from 9 am to 5 pm at work.
Adapt it regarding your needs and the circumstances (increase your intake by hot weather and when you exercise). The additional water intake will come from your food, especially fruits and vegetables.
While you want to spread your fluid intake out, you don’t want to cram the remaining daily amount in at the end of the day—or you’ll likely be up several times during the night to use the restroom. In fact, schedule a cut-off time at the end of the day so that you can sleep through the night. Also, keep in mind that the first few weeks of increased fluid intake, you will need to use the bathroom a bit more frequently, it’s perfectly normal, nothing to worry. This will slow down in 3 to 4 weeks.
Your urine color is a good indicator of your hydration. It should always be light yellow. If it’s darker you may not be consuming enough water.
And remember a basic rule: if you’re thirsty, drink!
First things first, you need to be sure you always have water at your disposition. The best way is to invest in a reusable bottle you can easily carry wherever you go. There is a large choice of bottles available out there. Pick one that you find nice. Having a bottle you like will motivate you to use it and will serve as a friendly reminder to drink more.
Consider choosing a water bottle with timed fluid intake goals, such as lines that let you know how much to drink each hour. Or, use tape or a sharpie marker to create 8-ounce lines on your bottle.
Set reminders and track your intake
The goal is to hydrate before you are thirsty or dehydrated, so it’s important to spread your water intake throughout the day.
As usual, reminders will help you create a healthy habit. Start by listing the moments of the day you will sip a cup of water. You can use your bottle tracking system or make drinking water part of your daily routines (think of morning or evening routines exercise or reading sessions, lunch, breaks, dinner…). Set a recurring reminder for each of the moments on your list.
If you have trouble with these reminders, set a goal for how many bottles of water you must drink a day, and break your day into blocks of time. For example, one bottle between breakfast and lunch, and one between lunch and dinner. This will vary depending on how large your water bottle is.
Once again, technology can help us. Dedicated apps can automatically remind us to grab a glass of water when it’s needed. Each app is unique but will encourage you to drink a set amount at set times during the day. A few apps to consider include Daily Water, Drink Water Reminder N Tracker and Water Drink Reminder.
Spice your drink up
While you want to avoid anything with added sugar which would defeat your purpose, plain old water isn’t your only option. Consider non-sweetened herbal tea, or fruit or herb-infused water. You can even find travel bottles that will infuse your water for a more appealing taste.
Sparkling water and club soda count toward your daily intake, which you can flavor with fresh citrus or a splash of fruit juice. You can count one serving of freshly squeezed juice, iced coffee, a vegetable smoothie, milk, coconut water, or a low-sugar electrolyte beverage towards your daily water intake. Soda, more than one cup of coffee, and processed beverages or fruit juice DON’T.
Pro-tip: when exercising, you don’t want to overhydrate and get a side ache. WebMD suggests hydrating with at least 15 ounces one to two hours prior to your workout, and about 8 ounces every 15 minutes while engaged in physical activity.
Determine how much water you need per day. Remember the 8x8 rule
Invest in a reusable water bottle
Identify the moments of the day when you should drink a cup of water
Set reminders for each of these moments
Track your water intake with a dedicated app
Reduce hunger sensation
Improve digestion and kidney function
Boost your immunity
Boost energy, mood and mental clarity
Minimize muscle cramps and aching joints