You’re probably thinking more than usual about how to stay hydrated now that it’s summer. Drinking enough water is important for your body and your mind, but it can be a challenge when you’re busy or distracted. Plus, some people just don’t like drinking water very much.
I am not one of those people—in fact, I am basically a human camel. I started increasing my water intake when I was a teenager because I was prone to fainting and dizziness. Staying hydrated certainly helped with that, but it also provided so many other benefits that it’s one of the first things I recommend to people who are looking to improve their health.
Won’t you be a camel with me?! Here are my tips for how to stay hydrated (and enjoy it too!):
1. Understand The Benefits Of Being Hydrated
Drinking water is one of the simplest ways to take care of yourself. Staying hydrated helps your body maintain fluids, and assists bowel and kidney functions. It’s also essential for a healthy diet and exercise routine because it balances your appetite, energizes your muscles and makes your skin look good. I’m not one of those people with naturally perfect skin, but I do receive compliments on my complexion because water keeps it glowing.
2. Set Goals
OK, so you’re convinced of the benefits. How much water do you need? There are a few different opinions out there. The general consensus used to be 6-8 oz (or 2 liters) per day, but now many experts recommend tailoring your intake to your height, weight, activity level and environment (e.g. climate). WedMD recommends between half an ounce and an ounce of water per pound of body weight.
3. Increase Your Intake Gradually
You may be wondering how on earth you will drink all that without needing to excuse yourself to go to the bathroom every 10 minutes. My advice is to go on as normal for a day or two, get a sense of how much you usually drink, and increase your intake gradually over the course of a week or more. Some of it is trial/error and intuition—it may take some time to figure out what is right for you, so don’t overdo it and drink so much that you’re uncomfortable.
And now for some TMI: Yes, you do need to pee a lot at first. Once your body adjusts, you will pee for longer each time, but won’t need to go so frequently.
4. Start Early
A good, basic habit to try to maintain is to drink a glass of water (and pee!) as soon as you wake up. This gives your metabolism a kick, flushes out toxins, and it remedies the dehydration that your body is feeling after eight or more hours without water. Additionally, having a goal of “x amount of water by x o’clock” is an easy way to remind yourself to drink more. Personally, I have a goal of 1 liter before noon (in part because I tend to work out in the morning, but also because I get more forgetful as the day goes on).
5. Track Your Intake
If you’re not into numbers or trying to remember things, track your water intake with the use of an app such as Waterlogged or Water Your Body. Or be old school and write it down!
6. Bribe Yourself
Water doesn’t have to be boring—you can get pretty things on this quest! How about a nice big water bottle with your name, your school or an inspirational saying? Or how about one you’ve customized? I fill up my water bottle every morning, regardless of whether I’m heading out for the day or if I’m going to sit at my desk. (If it’s the latter, I pour it into a glass to sip.)
7. Flavor Your Water
If you’re really not into plain ol’ water, flavor it naturally. One of my favorite ways to enjoy water is to drink it with cucumber, mint, raspberries and lemon. (Not quite as satisfying as a Pimm’s Cup, but still good.) For all you overachieving camels out there, this will give you even more benefits than just regular water: The added produce helps you to detox, aids digestion and prevents bloating. Also, if you are a soda-lovin’ human, try it with sparkling water instead.
Another handy bottle for you: one which infuses fruit right into the water.
8. Cuppa Tea?
Because I’m British and all, I drink an absurd amount of tea and don’t count it towards my daily intake. But if you are struggling to get enough liquid down yourself every day, try some tea instead. Herbal tea has all sorts of magical benefits, so choose whatever your body needs most and/or whatever appeals to your taste buds. Some good ones to start with: peppermint, ginger, chamomile, roobios, lemon balm, milk thistle and dandelion, rosehip… So many to try!
9. Limit Your Other Drinks
Dehydrated individuals tend to be supplementing their water intake with other liquids such as soda, coffee and—take a deep breath, winos—alcohol. There’s nothing wrong with enjoying these drinks from time to time, of course, but make sure you’re still getting enough water. Remember that these beverages actually need a lot of fluid to be filtered and processed, meaning that they don’t help with hydration just because they’re liquid.
10. Pay Attention To Temperature
This is going to sound silly, but I’ve realized that I am really sensitive to temperature. If a meal is otherwise wonderful but not hot enough, I don’t enjoy it as much. The same goes for water: I need it to be iced, room temp or tepid depending on my body temperature, time of day and weather. Paying attention to these bodily cues and adjusting my water accordingly has really helped me to enjoy it no matter what.
Do you have any tips for how to stay hydrated? Tweet us @LitDarling!
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