This post originally appeared on Explained Health.
Most North Americans drink significantly less water than they should on a given day. This normally isn’t because of a lack of a water source, but due to either replacing water with a less-than-healthy beverage, or just not thinking about it. So here I’ve put together a list of 10+ ways for you to get more water into your normal day. Most are very simple suggestions that create a habit of drinking more water, which is key to improving your life and your health.
1. Put it in front of you first thing in the morning
One of the most important times to drink water is first thing in the morning. It should actually be one of the first things you do when you wake up because your body just had 6-8 hours of dehydration. But, most people normally go for that cup of coffee as soon as they are alert enough to grab it. To help remind yourself to drink water, put an empty glass, ready to be filled, wherever is most in your way in the morning. This could be on a kitchen counter or beside your bathroom sink. And when you see that glass, fill it up and drink it down before grabbing that bagel or coffee.
2. Set alarms
For those of us on the go, busy at work, we sometimes just don’t think about drinking, and a whole work day can go by before we realize we haven’t drank (or sometimes ate) anything. This is where an app called “Daily Water Free” comes in. This nifty little app helps you track how much water you drink, and more importantly, lets you set reminders that ring on your phone when you should drink a quick glass of water. Sometimes we just need those little reminders.
3. Add flavor
If you are one of those people that just don’t like the taste of water (or lack thereof), then it may deter you from drinking more of it. So to get your daily requirement, add some flavor. And I’m not talking Kool-aid or squirt-bottle additives, but something natural like lemon pieces or cucumber. Lemon in water just feels right, and has a number of health benefits, like aiding in digestion. And if you’ve never tried cucumber in water on a hot day, you don’t know what you’re missing.
Infusing water with a number of fruits and veggies is easy and gives you a lot of options for taste. You can simply toss the additives into your glass, or grab a pitcher and keep reusing it for the day. You can even get pitchers with built-in filtered infusers if you don’t like the fruit just floating around.
4. Keep it near you
One of the easiest ways to drink more water is to have a constant reminder to do so. You can do this by making sure you always have it available and in places you’ll see. I personally keep a glass on our kitchen counter that I walk by often at home, and every time I do, I take a sip. The same can be done for your family room; if you’re watching tv or a movie, just bring a water glass. When you’re at work, keep a bottle near your computer screen. When you’re about to go out somewhere, bring a bottle with you, or leave a constant pack of bottles by your front door for easy access.
5. Do it to save money (at restaurants)
Water, at most restaurants, is free. Compared to a soda at around $3 or beer at $5-8, opting for a glass of water with your meal can save a couple $6-20 each meal. That’s a fairly good chunk of money to save while being more healthy. I’m not saying you shouldn’t enjoy a drink with a meal, but if you try to push more water into your dinning out, it’ll help in two ways!
6. Set a routine
Humans are animals of routine, and once you get on a good routine, it becomes just part of your day. This is the trick with drinking more water; even if its hard to start, once you get onto it, it’ll be second nature. You can start simply by making one of the steps in this list a routine. Take the first point above. If you think every evening to set out a glass for water in the morning, it’ll eventually become part of your normal nightly routine, and you’ll barely think about it when you do it. See what works best for you to set a consistent routine for drinking water.
The same idea can be used in the office if you have a water cooler or kitchen. Make yourself stop every time you pass by the cooler and grab a quick drink. It can even be as little as one gulp or sip. If you do this every time you pass it, you’ll help yourself stay hydrated all day. Or if a water cooler isn’t in your area, just make a point to grab a drink every time you take a bathroom break.
7. Get a water bottle that works for you
Not everyone likes drinking out of a basic water bottle. Some people prefer to drink from a straw as compared to sipping from a glass. No matter how you like to drink water, its important for you to find a bottle/glass that works for you, that will allow you to drink more water. Some brands of bottles even have built-in filters for extra healthy water. Just find one you like, and you’ll be drinking more!
A side note on bottles, no matter which you choose, make sure to clean it often and properly to ensure nothing builds up inside!
8. Take it in the car with you
I know this has been stated above, but this is one of the more significant points I believe. So I’m basically telling you again. Bring a bottle of water in your car, wherever you go. Normally one of the ways people get dehydrated is during activities that aren’t strenuous, but can dry you out. This includes long car rides (plan for bathroom breaks along the way!), shopping (malls are notoriously dry), and just general chores. How often is it that you get into your car, do some shopping and then feel burnt out and dry afterwards? That is because our minds are preoccupied with tasks, and we don’t think about keeping hydrated.
The easiest way to stay hydrated while on the go is to just bring a bottle with you in your car. You don’t have to carry it while shopping, but take a drink before heading in the store, and another when you get back to the car, and you’ll stay hydrated for the day. Its super easy and will make your day better.
9. Make a pact with someone at work or home to drink more water
There is nothing more annoying and motivating than peer pressure and losing to someone. If you’re dedicated to improving your life and health by drinking more water, one of the best motivators is a partner who can push you and remind you to drink more. This is especially helpful in a working environment where you may forget to drink that bottle of water while working. A friendly reminder during the day is also helpful both ways, since you can also remind them as soon as you remember a time to drink some water. Setting goals is also great when you have a friend to motivate you. Try first setting a goal of a set amount of water each day, and slowly increase it until you reach your optimal amount.
10. Drink a glass before a meal
Drinking a glass of water about 30 minutes before a meal has a number of benefits. First, it helps your body hydrate itself before starting digesting, which is an activity that requires energy from your body. Second, it also makes you less hungry leading up to the meal, which can help you eat less (eat the amount to get you to a ‘full’ state rather than an ‘over-full’ state). This is especially handy if you’re looking to watch your weight in a healthy way. An added bonus is if you add lemon into the water you drink before a meal. Studies show that this actually aids in digestion.
A note on drinking during a meal. Its been shown that drinking a lot of water during a meal is actually not good for your digestion, since it dilutes your stomach’s natural acids. So the trick is drink water before and just sip a bit during meals when needed instead of guzzling.
(Bonus) 11. Track your drinking
For some people, the best way to get on a routine is to show progress. For this to work, start keeping track of your water drinking habits, and if you keep up, you’ll see the growth of your drinking over time. Once you’re on a habit for a few weeks, you’ll really see the results.
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