How much water do you get through in the average day?
If you're anything like me the answer is probably ‘not enough’. We have so much going on in our daily lives we often forget to do the most basic things to keep ourselves alive and well, like eating properly, and drinking enough.
Most of us hugely underestimate the importance of being consistently well hydrated. We don’t realise how much of a toll it takes on our energy levels and our ability to function. We’re so used to being dehydrated that it just becomes the norm, and we can’t pick up on the signs.
But when you think about the fact that the brain is 90% water, and the body is 70%, it’s no wonder that dehydration can have such a huge effect on us.
The UK government recommends that you should be taking in at least 6-8 glasses of fluids every single day. That works out at about 1.2 litres. But the more the better.
Learn to listen to your body and give it as much water as it needs, whilst never dipping below the recommended minimum if you possibly can.
The benefits of staying hydrated
Here are a few of the benefits that come from getting more water into your system.
It helps promote weight loss
If weight loss is one of your goals, then it’s really important to drink enough water every day. Drinking water flushes out by-products of fat and can help quell your hunger and raise your metabolism.
Have you ever thought you were hungry, then had a glass of water and realised you were actually just thirsty? We can sometimes struggle to figure out the difference between the two.
Drinking a large glass of water before meals can help you make sure that you’re only eating what you really need to sate your hunger.
Plus, it’s zero calorie, so you can enjoy eating your calories rather than drinking them.
It keeps you regular
Staying hydrated is vital for healthy digestion. When your digestive system is happy, you’re far more likely to be in the mood for exercise.
It flushes out toxins
Water leaves the body in the form of sweat and urine, and those liquids take waste products with them.
It gives your complexion a boost
If you’re worried about the signs of aging showing up on your face, then water is your best friend. When your cells are hydrated, they’re nice and plump, which helps minimise wrinkles.
It also helps keep your skin supple and moisturised, without the help of any expensive lotions or potions.
It ups your energy levels
The vast majority of your brain is water. So, it would make a lot of sense that the more water you ingest, the better your brain is going to function.
Being hydrated keeps you alert and energetic, which is just what you need when you’re trying to lead a healthier, more active lifestyle.
It’s a natural pain killer
We all know that dehydration can cause headaches. Next time you have one, try drinking a few more glasses of water before you turn to the paracetamol.
It’s budget friendly
As well as saving you calories, sticking to the water when you’re out and about can save you money. That means you can indulge in something a little healthier but more expensive (and delicious) when you go out for a meal, but make up for it by ordering a large glass of water to wash it down.
How to drink more water
If you don’t think you’re currently drinking enough water, then you need to make a conscious effort to adapt your habits and your daily routine so that drinking more becomes second nature.
Do you have a nice reusable water bottle? If not, then now’s the time to invest in one. Get your hands on an attractive refillable metal water bottle, and make sure that anywhere you go, it goes too.
If you know how much water the bottle holds, then it’s really easy to keep track of how much you’ve drunk each day, and challenge yourself to drink more.
When you’re trying to develop a new habit, you need to make sure it’s constantly at the forefront of your mind so you don’t forget about it.
Use your phone to set reminders throughout the day, so that you know when it’s time to drink a glass of water. They say that it takes 21 days for anything new to become a habit, so three weeks of reminders should be enough to make drinking more water part of your unconscious routine.
Make it the first thing you do
When you go to bed at night, place a glass of water on the bedside table, and then drink it down when you wake up in the morning to flush your system out and wake you up.
Have a glass of water with every meal
Make sure you pour yourself a glass of water to accompany breakfast, lunch and dinner. Drink a glass down before you start eating for good measure.
Have fun with flavours
If you find you get bored with the taste of plain water, then experiment with different flavours. Mint leaves, slices of cucumber and slices of lime, lemon and orange are all fantastic options, adding both flavour and nutrients.
Just be careful not to overdo it on the citrus fruits, keeping it to one glass a day for the sake of your teeth.
In case the phone reminders aren’t enough, try using classic post-it notes to jog your memory.
Put them next to the front door to remind you to take your water bottle with you whenever you go out, or on your bedside table to remind you to have a glass of water waiting for you in the morning.
With a little determination and commitment, you’ll soon be drinking much more water and feeling much better for it.
Our minds all operate differently and what works for one person won’t work for another, but you should soon figure out the tactics that will help you up your water intake.