You probably know that water contributes to wellness in big ways, which is why it’s so important to keep an eye on your water intake. However, staying hydrated is sometimes easier said than done — especially if your days are packed with work, childcare and other big responsibilities.
The good news is that you can start drinking more water without too much extra effort. All you need to do is brush up on a little background information so you can choose the hydration hacks that will work best for you.
Here’s everything you need to know about water intake, along with a few fun tips for drinking more water.
How Much Water Should You Drink?
Did you know that some people don’t start feeling thirsty until they’re already dehydrated? This means your body might need you to drink more water even if you don’t feel thirsty.
So how can you make sure you’re staying hydrated? Here are a few key things to know:
Why is Fluid Intake So Important?
You’ve probably heard all your life that it’s important to drink water — but do you know just how important?
Water is so vital that it’s considered one of six essential nutrients, along with fat, carbohydrates, protein, vitamins and minerals. Here are just a few of the most crucial things water helps your body do:
- Regulate temperature
- Lubricate joints
- Boost immune strength
- Digest food
- Remove waste products from the kidneys
- Improve sleep
- Manage mood
If your body maintained the same fluid levels at all times, you might never need to drink at all. However, you’re losing water even as you read this: breathing, sweating and other everyday activities can change the fluid levels in your body. In fact, you can lose between two and three liters of water every day — which is why healthy water intake is so important.
What Should You Know About Dehydration?
If you lose more fluid than you take in, the result is dehydration. Symptoms of dehydration can include thirst, fatigue, dizziness and confusion, depending on the severity of your condition; even as little as 2% fluid loss can impact brain function.
Anyone can get dehydrated, especially if you’ve been sick for a while or are exercising in hot weather, but the risk is higher in young children and older adults.
How Much Water Do You Need?
Different people have different water intake requirements. For example, you need to drink more when you’re exercising or working outside, because activities like these will make you sweat and lose more fluid.
However, if you’re wondering how much water to drink in a day, there’s a simple guideline to follow: about 11.5 cups (91 ounces) for women and 15.5 cups (125 ounces) for men. As a benchmark, the average single-use plastic water bottle holds about 17 ounces, which means you’d need to drink between six and eight of them every day just to stay hydrated. (That can quickly get expensive, which is why many people choose reusable water bottles instead.)
Where Should Your Fluid Intake Come From?
For the most part, 80% of your fluid intake comes from drinking water and other beverages, while the other 20% comes from your diet.
Ideally, that 80% should be mostly water, not sugary drinks or other beverages. That’s because fruit juice, vitamin water and energy drinks could be loaded with sugar, so they do more harm than good for your diet.
As for the 20% that comes from food, you have plenty of options, including these snacks with high water content:
Can You Drink Too Much Water?
It’s possible to drink too much water. This condition is called hyponatremia, and it occurs when your kidneys can’t get rid of fluid fast enough. As a result, your blood’s sodium content becomes diluted, which can lead to headaches, confusion, seizures and in extreme cases, even a coma.
The good news is that most healthy, well-nourished adults don’t have to worry about drinking too much water. That’s because you get sodium from your diet, which can help balance your body’s levels of this electrolyte.
Improving Your Water Quality
Now that you know the basics, it’s time to get serious about staying hydrated.
If you’re going to improve your fluid intake, your first step should be making sure your home has good water quality. Tap water can be a virtually limitless source of hydration, but to make sure you’re getting a drink you can feel good about, it’s a good idea to test and filter this water before filling your bottle or glass.
Here’s what to know about water quality and how to improve it:
Your Drinking Water May Pose Various Concerns
If your drinking water has an unpleasant taste, odor or color, you probably won’t want to drink the recommended amount every day. These issues can make hydration a challenge, though they may not necessarily be a risk to your health – that would depend on the underlying cause of these problems.
You Should Test Your Tap Water Regularly
Because of this, it’s a good idea to have a water test at least once a year. This is advisable whether or not you are noticing any issues, as many water problems can’t be seen, smelled or tasted. With a water test, you can get information about water quality issues like pH and hardness levels, chlorine content and more. Water test results can also tell you whether a filtration solution could help improve the taste and appearance of your tap water.
You Can Filter Drinking Water
If you have aesthetic concerns or the results of a water test indicate there are other quality issues with your tap water, one of your best options is to choose a drinking water filtration system. These systems can reduce unpleasant tastes, odors and colors while addressing potential contaminants like lead, arsenic and mercury.*
14 Ways to Drink More Water
Once your drinking water quality has been improved, there’s only one thing left to do: start drinking water. Here are a few simple hydration hacks to make it easier to work water into your busy schedule:
#1: Choose Reusable Water Bottles You Love
Reusable water bottles made of glass or stainless steel are a great way to bring water with you on the go. Make sure you choose a fun design — one that will help you remember to keep your bottle close at all times.
#2: Replace Sugary Drinks
If you need to drink water more frequently, start by replacing one sugary drink per day. That helps you add a more reliable source of hydration to your diet without having to say goodbye to your favorite beverages all at once.
#3: Drink Throughout the Day
Don’t try to fill your water intake quota in one big gulp. Instead, remind yourself to drink throughout the day and keep your reusable water bottle within reach while you work, clean the house or play with pets or kids.
#4: Put Water in the Fridge
Did you know that it’s easier for your body to absorb cool water than room-temperature water? Put your reusable water bottle or a pitcher in the fridge so you always have a nice cold drink to look forward to.
#5: Make Your Own Healthy Flavoring
If you’re a fan of sugary drinks but don’t want all the extra calories, there’s good news: You can make your own healthy flavoring to help increase your water intake. There are plenty of fruit water infusion recipes including watermelon, mint, pineapple and even jalapeno, so don’t be afraid to get creative and make hydration fun.
#6: Set Drinking Water Alarms
You probably have your phone or computer with you all the time, which means they’re the perfect tools to help you increase your water intake. Just set alarms throughout the day to remind yourself to drink water — and for better results, set your phone across the room so you have to get up to turn off the alarm (and grab a drink while you’re at it).
#7: Create a Routine
Sometimes, it’s easier to remember a task once you’ve associated it with an everyday routine. Try drinking water every time you answer an email or phone call, let the dog outside or check social media.
#8: Drink With Meals
You may have heard that you shouldn’t drink water at mealtimes. The truth is that water helps break down your food and can aid in the digestion process, which means it’s smart to grab your reusable water bottle every time you sit down to eat.
#9: Start a Hydration Challenge
If you want to add more fun to your water intake, try making it into a challenge with your family, friends or coworkers. Choose a period of time — like one day or week — where everyone keeps track of their water intake. Once the time is up, the person who drank the most water could get a prize like a new reusable water bottle.
#10: Drink When You Exercise
Remember your body loses fluid through sweat, which means it’s important to drink plenty of water before, during and after exercise. That’s especially true if you’re outside in hot or humid weather. Keep in mind that regular water is often a better choice than sports drinks or vitamin water, helping you improve hydration without the extra ingredients or calories.
#11: Drink Before You Get Thirsty
Because some people might not get thirsty until they’re already dehydrated, you shouldn’t wait until you’re feeling parched. Instead, find other ways to remind yourself to keep drinking water.
#12: Know Your Dehydration Risks
Different people have different hydration needs, but they also have different dehydration risks. For example, your body might need extra water to process certain medications, so keep track of your needs and contact your doctor with any questions.
#13: Set Simple Goals
If you’re not used to drinking water all day, it can be difficult to keep up with your fluid intake. To start off on the right foot, create simple goals for yourself — like drinking a set amount before your lunch break or refilling your reusable water bottle a certain number of times. This will help you get into the habit of hydration without stressing out about your progress.
#14: Find What Works
It seems simple to drink water, but the reality is that you have all kinds of things to do, think about and focus on — which means you shouldn’t worry if some of these hydration hacks just don’t work for you. It’s important to find ideas that click with your habits and preferences; that way, you’ll actually keep up with your new goals or solutions instead of getting bored after a few weeks.
Start Your Hydration Journey Today
It’s not always easy to stay hydrated. However, when you know what your body needs, you can start making plans to get more water during the day — and it all starts with improving your tap water quality. From there, you can choose filtration solutions, reusable water bottles and other hydration hacks to help you make drinking water a healthy habit.
Are you ready to drink more water? Take the first step by scheduling your free water test and consultation today.
*Contaminants may not necessarily be present in your water.
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