Humans need to drink water to survive – a significant portion of the human body is in fact composed of water, and the effects of dehydration can be devastating. We still aren’t sure exactly how much water people should drink on a day-to-day basis – the former rule of sixty-four ounces per day is no longer seen as a hard rule – but it is safe to say that you should be making an effort to drink at least some water every day. What complicates the issue is that water intake depends on a variety of factors – how much physical activity someone is engaged in, what climate they live in, what sex they are, and so on. Another complication is that people’s bodies do extract water from food sources as well as from liquids – only around eighty percent of our daily water intake is from fluid sources; the other twenty percent is from the water which is commonly present in certain foods. So judging how much water someone should ideally drink on a day to day basis is a difficult task. Even though the sixty-four-ounce rule has been shown to be less hard-and-fast than was previously thought, the Institute of Medicine still has baseline recommendations of one hundred and twenty-five ounces per day for healthy adult males, and ninety-one ounces per day for healthy adult females. If you live in a hot climate or engage in a strenuous physical activity, naturally you should increase this amount. The most important thing to do in your quest to up your water intake throughout the day is to make it easier to reach for water rather than another beverage whenever you want something to drink. Take a look at the suggestions below to see what changes you can make to increase the amount of water you drink.
One way to increase the amount of water that you drink on a daily basis is to switch water for fizzy drinks. Instead of reaching for a can of coke or sprite in the middle of a long afternoon, take a glass of water instead; it’s even sold in a lot of the same vending machines! Fizzy drinks actively dehydrate you, due to their high acidity – if you are thirsty, it’s a much better option to stick with water. Not only will you be more hydrated, but you will also find yourself reaping the other benefits of avoiding (or drinking fewer) fizzy drinks, such as reducing the amount of sugar you take in, therefore reducing the risk of dental problems. You will also find yourself with more energy, and longer-lasting energy, because drinking water doesn’t leave you at the risk of a sugar crash later in the day.
Another good way to drink more water is to make sure that you are always carrying some with you. Invest in a good water bottle and fill it up at home, and carry it through the day, filling it up as needed. Having a water bottle or a glass physically present on your desk will act as a visual cue for you to drink water. Having water available may also help you avoid drinking other beverages such as Coke – if you need a drink, there is no reason to go in search of one because you have water right in front of you!
Try and find ways to remind yourself to drink water, especially if you’re the type of person who would forget about drinking until they were thirsty. Use the alarm function on your phone if you work in an office setting, or you could use an actual alarm clock if you work for yourself! Set the alarms for whenever you want to be reminded to drink water – once an hour, twice an hour – and use them to remind yourself to get a glass.
An alternative way to do this (this comes in handy if alarms would be obtrusive) is to use certain events as triggers for you to drink water. If you have a set number of phone calls throughout the day, the phone ringing could become your reminder for a glass of water. At night, you could continue drinking water by using breaks in whatever you are watching on TV as a reminder to get a drink of water. Find what works for you.
Persuade your managers to have a water cooler installed in the office. This is something like having a water bottle on you through the day in that it acts as a physical reminder to drink water. Having it in your line of sight, or having to walk past it multiple times a day may serve as a trigger to remind you stop and get a glass of water. With luck, having a watercooler in your office may also lead you to drink more water, rather than simply walking into the office kitchen to get yourself some more coffee or tea.
Finally, you could also prepare water in advance. If you find the taste of water by itself rather lacking, preparing water the night before work can allow you to have some subtle flavours still, but in water rather than in some other form which is less hydrating and good for you. The presence of a pre-made bottle of flavoured water in your fridge may also act as a means to get you to drink water with meals because it is present and ready-made in the refrigerator.