It’s common knowledge that water is good for the body. In fact, balanced hydration helps regulate body temperature, detoxes the body, cushions and lubricates joints, and protects the brain and other internal organs. In contrast, dehydration is associated with a long list of uncomfortable symptoms such as dry mouth, headaches, dizziness, high blood pressure, and fatigue.
How much water should you be drinking?
Dehydration is no fun, which is why it’s important to stay hydrated throughout the day, whatever your activities. If you’re exercising in hot climates and working up a sweat, you’ll need to replace lost fluids with more water then the average recommendation. But as a general rule, The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine advise that men drink 15.5 cups (3.7 liters) per day and women drink 11.5 cups (2.7 liters) per day.
That seems like a lot of water. Gulp! But keep in mind that this water intake is meant to be spread out over the entire day. And when you make healthy hydration a priority, your body will thank you with glowing skin, healthy muscles, and renewed energy. Here are a few tried-and-true strategies for meeting your daily water goals:
1. Invest in a Reusable Stainless Steel Water Bottle
An easy way to remember your H2O intake throughout the day is with a reusable water bottle like this ultra-durable model made with stainless steel and double-walled insulation, which is non-toxic and also keeps drinks hot or cold for several hours. Portable and durable, a stainless steel water bottle has functional features such as different style lids and reusable straws, which provide quick, drip-free access to water in any situation. Look for a model that fits into most cup holders in backpacks, bikes, and vehicles. Some stainless steel bottles also come with a carabiner, which can be clipped onto the outside of your gear for easy and secure storage.
- Decorate It
Drawing inspiration from the ultra-trendy VSCO girl, use your water bottle as a stylish accessory, another fun way to encourage more water drinking. Look for one in your favorite color or a shade that compliments your everyday clothing and gear. You can also add a personal touch by decorating it with motivational decals specially designed for water bottles or fun stickers that express your unique style and personality.
- Mark Your Bottle
Another easy way to develop healthy water drinking habits is by marking your bottle with a piece of tape and listing specific times that correspond to different water levels. Timed drinking allows you to see if you need to catch up on drinking or if you’ve crushed your goals for the day.
- Buy New Bottles
When you keep different bottles in heavily used places such as your backpack or day bag, kitchen counter, or nightstand, you can use their convenient locations as a reminder to stay on top of your daily water drinking goals. If you’re getting bored with the same old water jug, look for new bottles in a variety of colors and designs, which will instantly jazz up your water drinking experience.
2. Enhance the Flavor
Water has no flavor, but don’t let that deter you from staying hydrated and healthy. An easy fix is to naturally add flavor with a combination of different fruit and herbs. For a healthy and invigorating tonic in the A.M., start your day with refreshing lemon water garnished with a sprig of mint. In the afternoon, keep your body temperature cool and balanced with frequent sips of water flavored with melon slices such as cantaloupe and watermelon. Add a few pieces of muddled mint for an extra cooling effect.
- Experiment With Different Combinations
If you start thinking about your favorite types of fruit and herbs, you’ll find seemingly endless possibilities for sprucing up your water: strawberry slices with fresh basil, fresh ginger slices and lemon … and the list goes on and on. Simply add these items (preferably sliced to release all the flavors) to your water bottle or glass, drink frequently, and repeat.
3. Try Water Drinking Apps
An easy way to track your water consumption is with your phone, especially if you use it often. There are tons of free apps that will nudge you with reminders to drink water, and they double as a handy tracker you can use to keep tabs on your water intake by the day, week, and year. Simply set your goals for a personalized action plan that encourages you to drink more water. For a more DIY approach, you can skip the app and set a timer on your phone instead. Depending on your schedule and water needs, set it up to go off at specific times during the day.
4. Drink 8oz Morning & Night
Establishing a water drinking routine in the morning and evening is another easy way to fit in an extra two glasses of water per day. For best results, use mental triggers as a reminder to drink your scheduled water intake. For example, when you get up in the morning, drink your first 8 oz of water with coffee and you’re already one step ahead. During the day, try drinking a glass of water before lunch or take small, frequent sips from your bottle on work breaks. In the evening when you’re getting ready for bed, drink another glass of water as part of your nighttime ritual. The key is to establish a routine until it becomes a daily habit.
5. Keep Moving
Whether you’re working, traveling, or playing, staying active will make you feel thirsty — one of the most powerful motivating factors for drinking water. Even if you’re sitting at a desk, get in the habit of walking around the office to the water cooler to fill up your bottle at least once an hour. It’s not a full-on workout, but you’ll get a chance to stretch your legs while increasing circulation and boosting energy levels.
If you plan on working up a sweat at the gym or on the trail, The American Council on Exercise suggests pre-hydrating for several hours before any physical activity. For optimal performance, drink another 8 oz of water about 30 minutes before exercising. Then, drink 7 to 10 oz of water every 10 to 20 minutes during your workout; finally, 30 minutes after your workout, drink another 8 oz of water.
Incorporate these tips into your daily wellness routine and start training yourself to enjoy the flavor of water while also prioritizing healthy hydration.