Heat wave! Temperatures are up with the hottest weather in years to hit this weekend. We’d be remiss if we didn’t mention how important it is to stay hydrated – not just during a particularly hot weekend, but every day.
Water consumption is an important part of overall health – your body depends on it. While more often highlighted as a weight loss tip, we wanted to share some key highlights of why water is vital for your body:
- Water naturally improves digestion to help break down foods.
- Water is instrumental in healthy organ function. According to Dr. Murdoc Khaleghi, the Medical Director at WellnessFX, the key reason that dehydration is so bad for your health is that your body needs to get rid of waste in the blood, but your kidneys can only filter from the blood volume when there’s enough water to replace it.
- Water helps you absorb nutrients. Water-soluble vitamins, such as vitamin C and vitamin B12, dissolve in water. These vitamins are carried to the body’s tissues – but are not stored in the body – and are found in plant and animal foods or dietary supplements; They must be taken in daily, according to the National Cancer Institute (NCI). (need more? See “The Best Way to Eat Your Vitamins”)
- Water softens stools, which helps prevent constipation.
Our 5 Tips and Tricks to Help You Drink More Water Daily
First: Calculate your need and set a goal.
For the average adult, The Institute of Medicine’s general recommendations of water intake for women at approximately 2.7 liters (91 ounces) of total water — from all beverages and foods — each day, and men an average of approximately 3.7 liters (125 ounces daily) of total water. But when you’re more physically active, you’ll need to compensate for your water-loss by increasing your intake. Find out exactly how much you’ll need by calculating your sweat rate:
- Measure your body weight before exercising for an hour at moderate intensity
- Record the amount of liquid consumed during workout
- Weigh yourself again after the workout
- Calculate your weight loss in pounds and convert to ounces (multiply by 16)
- Add the amount of water (in ounces) you drank during the workout.
Every pound you lose is equal to 16 oz of water. So, if you lost a pound (16 oz) even though you drank 16 oz of water your total fluid loss without the fluid you drank would be 32 oz.
The average sweat rate is 32-48 oz of fluid per hour, but your personal sweat rate will vary based on temperature, humidity, and your level of athletic conditioning.
1. Make it your sidekick.
Get a reusable (BPA-free plastic or glass) container and take it with you wherever you go – grocery shopping, a meeting, running errands or meeting a friend for coffee. While it may take a moment to get used to, what you’re doing is creating the opportunity to drink more water.
If you don’t create it, it doesn’t exist.
2. Hook it on to a habit you’re already doing
Stanford Persuasive Technology lab’s BJ Fogg, a renowned research psychologist studying human behavior, focuses on two main building blocks when it comes to habit creation, via his Tiny Habits work:
- Building block 1: Find something you’re already doing, and
- Building block 2: Build on it to form a new habit.
It’s a “When + after” approach.
Why it works: The already established habit will trigger your new one and be easier to adopt because it’s hinged to something you’re already doing. Example: Brushing your teeth at night? Afterward, have a glass of water.
(If you want to read more on habit creation, try “The 5 Steps That Help You Build a Powerful Habit”)
3. This rubber band trick
Calculate how much your bottle holds, and then how many refills of your bottle you’ll need to drink each day to hit your goal. Each time you finish a bottle, move the rubber band to the top of the bottle, and effortlessly track and know how much you’ve had, at a glance.
4. This labeling trick
5. Replace a bad habit with the healthy habit of drinking water
Do you get easily distracted during tasks or at work aka distraction syndrome? Consider trying out the act of replacing the urge to compulsively check email or social networks by pausing, re-focusing on the task at hand, taking a sip of water, and going back to what you were doing. Not only will you help combat distraction, you’ll get a little more water into your day.
Reminder: If you start to need a separate calendar for bathroom breaks alone, pace yourself. Don’t chain-drink and don’t chug—your body can only process so much water at a time
What If I Don’t Enjoy Drinking Water?
It can be tempting to swap out water for something with 0 calories, such as diet soda, which we don’t advocate. Here are some suggestions for those that need a little more kick in their water game:
- Drink out of what you want to drink out of – crazy straws, a Bubba Jug, whatever makes it easy and convenient for you.
- Fruit, veggie or herb-infused waters
- Herbal tea counts. Un-caffeinated and unsweetened herbal teas add to your hydration without sugar
The posts on this blog are for information only, and are not intended to substitute for a doctor-patient or other healthcare professional-patient relationship nor do they constitute medical or healthcare advice of any kind. Any information in these posts should not be acted upon without consideration of primary source material and professional input from one's own healthcare professionals.