We are constantly bombarded with messages reinforcing the importance of drinking enough water. But what is the right amount? Is it eight-8oz glasses of water? Is it half of your body weight in ounces? Or maybe it’s 13 cups for men and nine for women? Unless of course, you are pregnant, breastfeeding, exercising, enjoying a hot day outside, not feeling well, have a headache—the list is endless.
The real answer is, it depends. Each person is unique and has different variables that need to be considered and like so many things in life, there is no one–size–fits–all approach to hydration.
Here are some tips to help you decide when to reach for your water bottle:
- When you are thirsty, your body’s telling you that you need more water. Unfortunately, when you feel thirsty chances are, you’re already slightly hydrated so try and avoid getting to that point.
- If your urine is light yellow, you are likely drinking enough water. If it is dark or smells strongly, you need more water!
- When you’re getting your sweat on, the temperature is registering hot or you are feeling under the weather—make a conscious effort to drink more water.
- If you are not regular in the bathroom, you need more water to help digest food and move waste along your digestive tract.
- If you are feeling sluggish and tired, your body is telling you to drink more water to increase your blood volume.
- When your concentration level and focus is low, grab some water to increase your brain function.
- When you are feeling irritable, anxious and/or tense, focus on healthy hydration to improve your mood.
The best way to gauge how much water to drink on a daily basis is by how your body feels and who doesn’t want to feel their absolute best? “Drinking water does more than just quench your thirst—it’s essential to keeping your body functioning properly and feeling healthy,” the Mayo Clinic advises. “Water is your body’s principal chemical component and makes up about 60 percent of your body weight. Your body depends on water to survive.”
Drinking water is essential to keeping our body functioning properly. Fully hydrated bodies promote lubricated joints, elevated mood, more energy, higher productivity and can even promote weight loss by curbing cravings and mindless snacking. Proper hydration also keeps skin looking fresh and rejuvenated! So, how do we create this positive habit and find ways to incorporate this feeling into our daily lives by drinking more water?
Make It Fun
Get yourself a special water bottle that you’ll enjoy using daily or add fruit like lemons to your water to add a little flavor. Set a goal to drink a certain amount of water daily and reward yourself when you’ve achieved consistency! Still having a hard time? Try downloading an app, like Water Drink Reminder, Hydro Coach, or Daily Water Tracker, that will help you remember when to sip. You can also try and get more hydration through other avenues aside from still water. Sparkling water makes for a fun change of pace with a splash of low–sugar cranberry juice. Fruits and veggies are also loaded with water and can help offer a boost when you’re hitting a slump. Foods with high water content tend to look larger, their higher volume requires more chewing, and they are absorbed more slowly by the body, which helps you feel full. Water-rich foods include fruits, vegetables, broth-based soups, oatmeal, and beans.
Lastly, set up a plan to create a habit change and remember: all sips count! Try to get up at least every hour to stretch and move, which serves as a great reminder to refill your water glass each time. Need additional hydration tips? Check these out and give them a try!
- Sip before every meal.
- Anytime you drain your glass or bottle, fill it back up.
- Make a rule that every time you work out, you’ll bring a water bottle and finish the whole thing.
- Have a glass of water with every snack and meal.
- Keep a bottle of water in your car, at your desk or in your bag.
Listen to your body and gauge your water intake by how you feel, keep your body hydrated to help your body perform better and feel healthier, get into a groove, and create a routine around drinking water. Just keep in mind—every sip counts!