If you weren’t asleep through the entirety of your grade school science classes, you undoubtedly know that your body is essentially a big water balloon. Science shows that we are comprised of 60% water, meaning that we are more parts water than anything else in our body. Still, most people move throughout their day with no priority towards keeping themselves hydrated to a healthy level. Instead, most of us will choose sugary soda or caffeinated beverages like coffee when we feel thirsty, and that’s just the beginning of the problems. Chronic dehydration can lead to us learning to interpret our bodies’ cries for water as hunger signals, causing us to overeat, too. As you can probably guess, the adverse health effects of being consistently dehydrated can become significantly detrimental. (1)
So, how can we commit to a healthier lifestyle and make sure that we get the amount of water that we need? It starts by knowing how much you should be drinking. The old rule of thumb goes something like eight glasses of 8 oz of water per day. Science has shown, however, that this is likely not enough. While your body does do an excellent job of signaling your brain when it needs to be topped off, many of us have unlearned how to interpret these signals properly. As a rule of thumb, science now shows that between .5 and 1 oz of water per pound of your body weight is an optimal target to shoot for. So, how can we rebuild our hydration habits and set ourselves up for success over the long term?
Here are a few excellent places to start.
Have Quality Water On Hand
In many parts of the country, the tap water we drink doesn’t taste good, plain, and simple. In San Diego, where I live, the tap water tastes like chemicals and leaves a gross after taste. The good news is that high-quality, filtered water is cheap! I fill up my 5-gallon jug down the street from my house for only a couple of dollars. Most neighborhoods, especially in areas where the public water isn’t great, will have small business water stores that specialize in treating the public water and making it more palatable. I see this is as a win-win for everyone involved. You have the ability to drink clean tap water without sourcing it from already potentially strained alternative supplies, and you help a small local business in the process!
Invest In A Portable Solution
Having a high-quality water source at home is excellent, but unless you work from home, the chances are you will need a way to take your water with you. Being on the go often leads to choices other than water to quench our thirst, so set yourself up for success and invest in a large, durable water bottle to keep you on track. Beyond the convenience of having water with you while you are on the go, another benefit to carrying a water bottle is it’s a great place to display stickers! I notice people almost daily that use their water bottles as a place to show off the things they care about, and think it’s a really great idea. Stay hydrated and express yourself; talk about two birds with one stone!
Start Your Day Off Right
First thing in the morning, commit to drinking a large glass of cool water. It will not only help you wake up and start your day off right, but it puts you ahead of the curve as far as your daily consumption. I’ve worked getting a large glass of water into my morning routine, and have noticed a significant difference when I reflect on how I feel the rest of the day after drinking a glass of water in the morning.
Avoid Late Night Catch Up
If you find yourself behind on water intake for the day at the end of the night, it’s important you don’t go overboard trying to catch up. A glass of water is a good strategy, but several glasses to make up from earlier in the day are not. Nothing will train you to dislike hydrating more than having to pee several times throughout the night.
Drinking water is not only crucial for your health and critical to you feeling your best throughout the day, but it can be part of a larger routine to put yourself first. Water is cheap and plentiful; it just requires a solid strategy and good habit building to ensure you are getting enough!