Water is one of the most essential things to our health. Water helps transport oxygen, and nutrients, cushion our joints, remove waste, and maintain our body temperature. Water helps us perform better and think better and also aids in weight-loss by speeding up the metabolism.
Yet, unless you make a daily concerted effort to drink enough water, chances are you’re dehydrated. On average we need at least ½ our body weight in fluid ounces every day- even more if you’re sweating through tough workouts. That means if you weigh 160lbs. you need at least 80 oz of water per day. That’s 10 cups. So, the whole “8 cups of water a day” guideline only works if you’re 130lbs or less. And even then, that’s a baseline!
But it’s easier said than done…
Most people grossly overestimate how much water they drink per day. Or they set out with the intention to drink more water, but have trouble remembering or keeping track.
Here are some easy tips for improving your hydration throughout the day:
1. Make it a part of your morning routine.
Drink a large glass or bottle of water first thing in the morning, as soon as you wake up. I like to fill a bottle up at night before I go to sleep, so it’s ready in the morning and I don’t have to think about it. This gets your hydration started immediately and also aids in digestion and regularity.
2. Flavor your water with fruit.
If you get bored with plain old water all day long, skip the sugary juices or sodas and opt for a low calorie, fruit infused water or sparkling water, instead.
Simply chop fruit and add to your water or sparkling water for a refreshing drink that won’t significantly impact your daily caloric intake.
Some of my favorite combos are:
- Blueberry, lime, and mint
- Pineapple, Strawberry
- Lemon, Raspberry, and fresh ginger
3. Invest in a quality water bottle.
Buy a large reusable and preferably stainless-steel water bottle that you won’t have to refill too often and will keep your water cold throughout the day. Take it with you everywhere you go and sip on it often. Never keep plastic water bottles in your car or hot garage- when they heat up the BPA and other toxic substances can seep into your water.
4.. Ask yourself- am I hungry or thirsty?
Because our brains have a hard time distinguishing between thirst and hunger, it’s very common to reach for a snack when it’s really more water that our body needs. So, before you eat that midday snack, try a glass of water first, and see if that satisfies.
5. Schedule water breaks throughout the day.
Water breaks aren’t just for workouts. Take the time while on your way to work, sitting at your desk, chatting with friends, or cooking dinner to drink some water. You can even set alarms throughout the day to remind you to take a sip every half hour or so.
6. Use an App to help remind you to drink and track your water intake.
Apps like “My Water Balance” and “Daily Water Tracker Reminder” in the App store, or an Apple Watch or Fit Bit are great tools for keeping you accountable and tracking hydration. Just remember to take in to account your activity level and know that the suggestions for water intake are often a minimum or baseline. So, for optimal hydration when using an app increase your water goal if you’re working out regularly.
7. Cut yourself off two hours before bedtime.
Another reason to increase your hydration early in the day is so that you’re not disrupting your sleep with bathroom breaks all night. Instead of being parched all day, then trying to make up for it by chugging a bunch of water in the evening, front-load your water intake so that you’re adequately hydrated throughout the day. Then stop all liquids at least two hours before you fall asleep.