Let’s face it, most of us could do with drinking a lot more water.
Chugging down energy drinks and coffee might make it easier to get through a rough day at work, but it doesn’t do much for our health and well-being. We all need a sufficient amount of clean, fresh water to keep all of our cells operating at their best.
Drinking enough water provides hydration for exercise and everyday movement.
Studies suggest water may even improve our appears (e.g. the look of your skin) and help address body aches (e.g. painful joints). However, it can be surprisingly tricky to remember to keep drinking water through the day – particularly if you face a hectic schedule.
Here are simple strategies to increase your water intake:
1. Use your water bottle like a clock. This is such a popular tip these days that you can actually get water bottles with times stamped on them. Alternatively, just mark lines on your water bottle to correspond with certain times.
The idea is to have a big enough bottle that you can drink a sufficient amount of H20 throughout the day.
An example: If you need to fill your bottle once at work, the lines could count for 8am, 10am, 12pm, and 2pm for the first half of the day, then 4pm, 6pm, 8pm, and 10pm for the second half and evening. It’s up to you to determine how quickly you drink your allocated amounts of water, but the larger the bottle or the more times you refill it – the better.
2. Always have water handy. It’s tough to remember to constantly drink water if you don’t have any available. To improve your chances of meeting your water intake goal, keep a high-quality refillable water bottle with you at all times.
If you don’t want to run between the kitchen and your desk too frequently when working at home, it’s worth getting a large enough bottle. You can get full gallon-sized refillable bottles on Amazon at a low cost.
Though it might sound simplistic, the reality is you’re a lot more likely to sip at water from your jug if it’s convenient. So why not make life easier for yourself?
3. Drink a glass of water every time you eat. This is a favorite strategy that I've followed for years! One of the best ways to get into the habit of drinking water is to do it every time you do something else. In behavior change parlance we refer to this as adding the desired behavior (drink more water) to an existing "anchor" (eating a meal) that is already part of your routine.
For instance, if you’re eating something – whether it’s a meal or a snack, try drinking a full glass of water at the same time. This should ensure that you get at least a few full glasses into your daily routine – even if you forget to do it via small sips consistently throughout the day.
Drinking water during a meal also has other benefits. Water can aid in digestion, so you’re less likely to get a tummy ache, and it can make you feel fuller, so you don’t overeat or binge on less healthy foods.
4. Set alarms on your phone. Try setting a few alarms each day to remind you to drink a bit of water. Even if you ignore one of your alarms, like when you hit the snooze button each morning, you should be able to get a decent amount of hydration this way.
If you have a fitness wearable or a smart watch, you can also set alarms on these that remind you to drink more water too. Many phone apps also provide a reminder and tracking function for drinking water.
While you’re at it, consider using your water consumption reminder as a reminder to get up and move around too.You can kill two birds with one stone by stretching out your limbs and rehydrating before, during and after physical activity.
5. Shake up the flavor. If you consider water to be boring, you can always change things up a bit. Muddling fresh herbs like mint and basil into your water can give it a unique taste, so you’re more inclined to want to drink water. This approach has the added benefit of providing flavor in a zero-cost, low-sugar manner.
You can also use water infuser bottles so you can add fresh fruits to your drinks too. I purchased a large pitcher that has a separate compartment that I fill with lemon + cucumbers, strawberries + mint, or other yummy combinations. Then it's easily accessible to not just me, but my family as well, throughout the day.
Try it on for size.
While drinking more water might not seem like the most important item on your to-do list, it can make a real difference to your health. Committing to just one of the above 5 approaches could help you to significantly improve your hydration. As a first step, consider which one or two strategies from the list above, or your own ideas, you'd like to try today and get drinking. Cheers!