7 Simple Tips to Increase Your Daily Water Intake.
If drinking more water is always at the top of your to-do list, you’re far from alone. A recent study found that 75 percent of adults are chronically dehydrated, and the lack of H20 in our systems can lead to fatigue, headaches, fogginess, and a whole host of other side effects. In warmer weather, you face a higher risk of heat exhaustion, heat stroke, and other health issues if you don’t drink enough water. Meanwhile, research has linked good hydration to healthy aging and longevity and reduced risk for heart disease and failure.
Our bodies are made up of 60 percent water, but when we sweat, talk, hit the bathroom, and even breathe, we lose water throughout the day. In order to retain and replenish the water we need in our bodies to function, The National Academy of Medicine encourages men to consume around 13 cups of water a day and women to consume about 9 cups. (Every person’s individual hydration needs are unique, however, so this is more of a general guidepost that’s helpful to refer to, rather than a one-size-fits-all rule.)
If you’ve been slacking on your water intake or can’t tell if you’re sipping enough, don’t fret. Aside from strapping a water bottle to your back, there are infinite ways to make drinking more water and staying properly hydrated easier to remember (even if the taste doesn’t thrill you).
“The key is to make drinking water a habit,” says Marisa Moore, RDN, author of The Plant Love Kitchen. “Find a way to drink it that you enjoy so you’ll want to keep up the habit.” Here are some of the best way to do that.
Turn it into a friendly game.
Team up with a loved one and challenge each other to drink more water. Pick a start date, and keep a digital journal you both have access to and track your progress. Start by drinking one more cup of water per day than you usually would until you meet the recommended cups per day. Once you’ve hit that goal, keep it up, and hold each other accountable until drinking more water becomes a habit. Check your progress in the journal after 30 days and adjust your intake accordingly.
Keep it on you—and within sight—at all times.
Sometimes the easiest way to drink water is simply to keep it on hand. “Filling and keeping your favorite bottle on your desk or in your work bag is helpful because the visible cue will remind you to drink,” Moore says. Whether it’s the water bottle you scored at an office party or the bedazzled one you randomly picked up while shopping, keeping a refillable bottle within sight is key to drinking more.
Try different types of water.
While H20 is H20, different brands of bottled water and even tap water can offer a different taste. Depending on where it’s sourced from, a natural spring, an artesian well, or your local lake or river, the taste can make all the difference on how likely you are to drink it consistently. “If accessible, try a different water source,” says Moore. “Water straight from the tap versus filtered water can taste drastically different. Where you live can influence how water tastes so if you wrote water off many years ago, give your current water source a try.”
Add a little flavor.
Not only does infusing water with lemon, limes, and other fruits and veggies add nutritional value to your cup of agua, it adds major flavor. If you really want to step it up add herbs like mint, parsley, or ginger.
Eat water-rich foods.
If the idea of drinking 11 cups of water a day leaves you feeling defeated, always remember that you can eat your way toward that hydration goal. “The water in food counts,” Moore says. “Add plenty of high-water foods such as melons, salad greens, tomatoes, and cucumbers to stay both nourished and hydrated.”
Tie it to a routine.
Another way to drink more water is to associate sipping with an existing activity or behavior you know happens regularly (a technique is known as habit stacking). Tie it to a workout, meal times, or when you first wake up. Not only does this practice help form a habit, research suggests that drinking water first thing in the morning can increase your energy levels and boost mental performance.
Enjoy other hydrating drinks, too.
Upping your water intake doesn’t mean ditching other beverages altogether—or that you only have to sip plain-Jane water. There are tons of healthy, hydrating beverages that can help get you there. “I also drink tea, make smoothies, and sometimes enjoy a fruity sparkling water with a meal,” Moore says.
It doesn’t have to be all or nothing, making drinking more water a lifelong habit is a journey, and it’s totally OK if there are days when you forget to drink your fill. The key is forming a habit you can you jump back into if you fall off.