Why You Should Drink More Water (And 5 Tips On How To Do It!)
Did you know that hot water weighs more than cold water? Or that 90 percent of the earth’s fresh water is in Antarctica? How about the fact that 60 percent of your body is composed of water – it’s in every cell, bone, tissue and organ?
While there are countless fascinating facts about water, by far the most compelling ones have to do with how drinking it affects your overall health. It’s simple, really. If you drink enough of it, you will feel – and see – the benefits. But if you don’t, and are among the 40 percent of Americans who drink less than half the recommended daily intake, your body will certainly take notice.
In fact, your body needs water to:
- Help normalize your body temperature
- Lubricate your joints
- Help rid it of waste through urination, bowel movements and sweating
- Protect vital organs, like your brain and spinal cord
- Transport nutrients throughout your body
So how much water is enough to keep your systems running in tip top shape? Everyone is a little different. You might require more or less water based on your activity level, where you live or how healthy you are.
Here’s a quick and easy way to figure it out: your weight in pounds divided by two equals the number of ounces you should drink each day. But that’s just for your basic needs. If you engage in rigorous exercise or are exposed to high temperatures, you should increase your intake accordingly.
There are some surefire ways to sneak more water into your daily diet. But first, how do you know if you’ve become dehydrated? Watch for:
- Joint pain
- Muscle pain
- An odor to your urine/urine that’s dark yellow in color
Also keep in mind that by the time you actually feel thirsty, it’s most likely too late – you’re already dehydrated.
Drinking water will definitely help, but if you plan on engaging in a demanding activity, like running a race or going on a long bike ride, you need to be hydrated well in advance. We’re talking three to four days ahead of time. The reason? Water helps energize your muscles, and if you haven’t been drinking enough of it, they’ll become fatigued easily.
So what are the best ways to get and stay hydrated? Here are five helpful tips that you can easily incorporate into every day living:
- Start by tracking your intake. Write down for a week or so how much you are drinking. Then, set a goal and gradually build up to it. Don’t feel like you need to force yourself to drink two or three times what you’re used to right away.
- Keep it handy. Having a bottle of water on your desk at work, in your car and near you at home will serve as a constant and easy reminder to take a swig.
- Increase your glass size. Used to drinking out of a smaller glass? Grab a bigger cup or bottle to help chip away at your goal.
- Eat your water. Huh? That may sound funny, but 20 percent of the water we need comes from food. Lots of foods are succulents, meaning they have a naturally high water content. Examples are watermelon, cucumbers, lettuce, tomatoes, grapes, oranges and apples. If you need help increasing your intake, these are good places to start.
- Find your favorites. If you find that adding lemon, lime or cucumber slices to your water makes you enjoy the taste more, go for it. Other fruits and vegetables can be added also to spruce up the taste. Or add a flavor enhancer – so long as it’s sugar-free. Just find the thing that makes you like it, so that drinking enough of the clear stuff doesn’t feel like a chore.
Follow these tips, and you’ll be drinking your way to clearer skin, stronger muscles and more energy in no time.
Learn more about Henry Ford LiveWell’s 5-2-1-0 family wellness program and download infused water recipes from our 5-2-1-0 printables page. They will make drinking more water fun and easy! While there, also download our 5-2-1-0 Kids! app — a fun way for kids to learn the importance of healthy habits.