Approximately 43 percent of Americans drink less than four cups of water per day. This percentage includes seven percent of Americans who don’t drink any water at all. Yikes. Clearly, there are a lot of people in the country (and the world) who can benefit from choosing to drink more water.
Are you part of the less than four cups per day club? Are you part of the no water at all club? Do you just not drink as much as you think you should?
No matter which club you’re in, I’m here to help. Explained below are four of my favorite strategies to help you ensure you’re drinking enough water throughout the day.
Why You Should Drink More Water
We’ve all heard how important it is to stay hydrated. Not all of us have a clear understanding of the benefits of adequate water consumption, though. The reality is that we need water to ensure that all of our bodily functions happen in the appropriate way.
Some specific reasons to drink more water include:
- Promote healthy saliva and mucus formation
- Keep joints lubricated
- Deliver blood and oxygen efficiently through the body
- Promote healthy, hydrated skin
- Cushion the brain, spinal cord, and tissues
- Regulate body temperature
- Promote healthy digestion and reduce heartburn
- Eliminate waste from the body efficiently
- Maintain healthy, stable blood pressure
- Reduce allergy and asthma symptoms
- Maintain proper kidney function
If any of these sound good to you, or if you notice that you struggle with anything on this list, drinking more water will likely do you good.
How much Water Should You Drink?
This is a difficult question because the answer varies from person to person. Here are some general guidelines, per the National Association of Sports Medicine, that you can reference to figure out the appropriate amount of water for you:
- For women: 2.7L (or 91 ounces) per day
- For men: 3.7L (or 125 ounces) per day
It’s also recommended that you drink between 14 and 20 ounces about two hours before exercising, followed by 16 ounces about 15 minutes before exercising, if you can tolerate it (some people find that having too much water sloshing around in their stomach slows them down). While exercising, aim to drink about 4-8 ounces once every 15-20 minutes or 16-32 ounces once every hour.
All this being said, if these numbers are stressing you out, don’t worry about them. Just drink so that your urine is light yellow/clear-ish and you should be fine.
How to Drink More Water
At this point, you might be thinking, “how the hell am I supposed to drink that much water?” That’s where I come in. Here are some of my top recommendations:
1. Carry a Water Bottle with You
I feel like a lot of people understand the value of this. I see people carrying water bottles with them all the time, and I think it’s great. If you’re not drinking enough water, this is an easy way to increase your intake.
Keep a water bottle handy (I especially like clear water bottles because it’s easy to tell how much you’ve been drinking) and you’ll likely start drinking a lot more.
2. Add Bubbles
IMO, sparkling water just tastes better than regular water. I enjoy bubbles, even if there’s no other flavor included.
If you find that you just can’t get down with drinking plain water, look for a sparkling variety (preferably one without any artificial colors or sweeteners) that you enjoy. I love La Croix, Bubly, and Waterloo. The Kroger brand sparkling water is really good, too, and way more affordable than other varieties.
3. Make It Flavorful
I also like using fresh fruit to flavor my water. Lemon juice and lime juice can make it taste a lot better and make it much easier for you to increase your daily intake. Herbs like mint taste great, too, especially when they’re paired with cucumber slices.
4. Drink Tea
Finally, remember that water doesn’t have to be cold to count toward your hydration.
During the winter, I have a hard time getting in as much water because I’m already cold and can’t stand the idea of drinking cold water on top of that. That’s where tea comes in.
I drink lots of herbal tea throughout the winter (and all year, TBH), and it makes it a lot easier to meet my water goal.
Don’t Forget Your Electrolytes!
It’s definitely important to make sure you’re drinking enough water during the day. Don’t forget about your electrolytes, though.
Electrolytes are chemicals that, when mixed with water, conduct electricity. The following are examples of electrolytes that the body needs:
If you’re drinking tons of water but not worrying about your electrolytes at all, you might end up with an imbalance. If you have an electrolyte imbalance, your body might have a hard time using the water you’re consuming and staying hydrated.
It’s especially important to replenish electrolytes after intense, sweaty exercise sessions. I’m not talking about drinking Gatorade or other sugary drinks. Adding a little sea salt and lemon juice (another reason to flavor with fruit) to your water can help to balance your electrolytes and prevent any negative symptoms (headaches, nausea, muscle cramps, etc.) from popping up.
Start Drinking More Water Today
There you go; four tips to drink more water every day. Give just one of these a try today and see if it helps you meet your water goal.
How much water do you drink each day? Could you benefit from drinking more?