Do you drink only when you’re thirsty? Only at meals? Only in the evening because you forgot the rest of the day?
Chances are, you don’t drink enough water. Most people don’t! The average person drinks 4 cups of water a day. Considering that it's suggested that people drink 12-16 cups per day, this is nowhere near enough!
You may ask, “Does *this beverage* count?” The general rule is that plain water (flat or sparkling, plain or with a no calorie mixer such as no calorie bottled flavoring, citrus, mint, cucumber etc) is your best bet. With the amount you’re drinking (or should be drinking) adding in beverages with calories and sugar (juice, soda, milk) can have a detrimental effect. Aim for just water, or, if you must, a non calorie drink such as tea.
How much water you should drink depends on many factors such as your body size and activity level as well as the external environment. Pregnant women and larger bodies need more water, and the more active you are the more water you should drink. And of course, if it’s hot, humid or you’re at high altitude, you’ll need more water.
Water is your body’s main chemical component, and makes up about 60% of your body weight. Humans can survive without food for a few days or sometimes longer. We can’t survive without water long at all. Every cell, tissue and organ in our body need water. Some examples of water’s responsibilities in our body: regulates body temperature, lubricates and cushions joints, protects sensitive tissues, and gets rid of waste. There are so many more! And each day our body loses water through perspiration, urination, and bowel movements. We need to replenish what is lost. If we don’t, we risk dehydration, a condition that occurs when our body doesn’t have enough water. It starts out as unpleasant (lack of energy, headaches, blurred vision, lightheadedness) and can quickly turn into a much more serious condition.
It can be hard to remember to drink water. As silly as that sounds, you’re not alone if you set a goal of drinking more and completely forget until the evening, when you’re already dehydrated. Here are some tips and tricks to hopefully keep you on track.
Drink 8 oz every time you eat a meal. There’s 3 glasses already!
Drink 8 oz before and after exercise.
Add a flavoring. Bottled calorie free flavorings by Dasani, Mio, and other brands are sold in regular grocery stores and can help keep your water interesting. Some people prefer to go the more natural route and use a slice of citrus, berries, mint, or a slice of cucumber.
Always have water on hand! Every time you sit at your desk, have a glass or bottle with you. Having it there will visually remind you to drink up.
Drink from larger bottles instead of glasses or small plastic bottles. Better for the environment and makes it easier to keep track of how much you’re drinking. Win win!
Hope these tips are helpful to you and get you on your way to drinking 12-16 glasses of water a day!