Do you ever struggle with how to drink more water?
Benefits of Drinking Water
Weight loss: drinking water instead of sugary drinks is definitely a great starting point for weight loss. Often thirst is mistaken for signs of hunger, particularly if you are mindlessly eating. Try having a glass of water before snacking. Water can help you feel fuller and may boost your metabolic rate.
Digestion: The bowel needs water to work properly. Digestive problems, constipation and an overly acidic stomach are all signs of dehydration. Click here for more information on better gut health
Skin health and beauty: with dehydration the skin becomes more vulnerable to skin disorders and premature wrinkling.
Better Sleep: Dehydration causes your mouth and nasal passages to become dry, causing sleep disruptive snoring and a parched throat. Leg cramps can also be a result of lack of hydration, and disrupted sleep compromises your performance the next day.
Energy: One of the best ways to boost energy levels in a hurry is to drink water. Being hydrated helps your body function properly and eliminates the sluggish and lethargic feeling people feel when they’re dehydrated.
It lubricates the joints: Cartilage found in the joints and discs of the spine contains around 80 percent water. Long term dehydration can reduce the joints shock absorbing ability leading to joint pain
It regulates body temperature: water is stored in the middle layers of the skin and comes to the surface as sweat when the body heats up. As it evaporates it cools the body. Read more about the amazing powers of sweat.
- Water helps Maximize physical performance: Muscle is about 80% water so it’s little wonder they need water to function properly. Dehydration is noticeable if you lose as little as 2% of your body’s water content, and it is not uncommon for athletes to lose up to 6-10% of their water weight via sweat. It can affect body temperature control, motivation, fatigue and make exercise feel more difficult physically and mentally.
- Helps with Brain function: Studies show that even mild dehydration (1-3% of body weight) can impair many aspects of brain function. It affects energy levels and mood, and lead to major reductions in memory and brain performance.
- It delivers oxygen through your body: Blood is more than 90 percent water, and blood carries oxygen to different parts of the body.
- It flushes out waste: Water is needed in the processes of sweating and removal of urine and feces.
- It helps with nutrient absorption: Not only does water help with food breakdown in digestion, it also helps dissolve vitamins, minerals and other nutrients from food and deliver them to the rest of your body.
- Metabolism Boosting: One study found that drinking 500 milliliters of water boosted the metabolic rate by 30 percent in both men and women. These effects appeared to last over an hour.
How Much Water Should I be drinking?
To work out the basic amount we should be drinking each day the calculations work like this:
Bodyweight in Kilograms multiplied by 0.033 is how much water we should aim for.
Bodyweight in Pounds multiplied by 0.67 (or 2/3) is how much water we should aim for.
Other Factors to take into consideration
- The amount of exercise you are doing needs to be taken into consideration. The exact amount varies depending on activity, muscle mass and climate so unfortunately I can’t give you an exact number. Make sure you’ve drunk water before exercise and sip while you go
- Climate and temperature. It’s pretty obvious one, but if you live in a hot or humid climate you will need more water. We need to replace the water we lose through perspiration (sweat).
- Diet. Foods contain different amounts of water which help add to our daily consumption, though it’s too hard to calculate so just take them as an added bonus. Fruit and Vegetables are full of water, vitamins and fiber, which is all the more reason to eat them. Diets high in sodium need more water to flush the sodium out.
- Pregnant and Breastfeeding Mums need more water, you’re hydrating yourself and baby. Experts recommend mothers drink about 1/2 to 3/4 of an ounce of water per pound of your non nursing weight. Work out your water consumption from the calculator above and add a glass or so more. The water can be consumed through other sources like tea, juice and watery foods.
Easy ideas on how to drink more water
- Drink a glass or 2 as soon as you wake up. It means you start the day on the right foot, you feel good and you’re on your way to hitting your water goal.
- Add bubbles. This is personally a favourite of mine to sip on bubbly water at the end of the day instead of a glass of wine. Think about the planet and instead of buying countless plastic bottle invest in a device to aerate your water, like a Soda Stream. A squirt or lemon or lime juices are good in soda water, I’ve even heard of adding apple cider vinegar for a bite of tartness, but only a miniscule amount.
- Check out the App Store for water reminder apps. Look at the section below for more information on Apps
- Set an Alarm. What better way to remember to drink more water than an alarm to stop you in your tracks.
- Add fruit and herbs as flavouring. Citrus fruits, such as lemons, limes, and oranges, are classic water enhancers, but other fruit flavours might also tempt your taste buds. Try crushing fresh berries or watermelon into your water. Cucumber and mint are a refreshing Summer twist. Or try combinations of strawberry with basil, lemon with mint, watermelon with cucumber, sprigs of fresh herbs like mint, basil or rosemary and ginger slices. Get creative.
- Make it a habit around activities. Choose an event that happens one or more times a day and connect drinking water with it. Drink a glass before and after exercise. Have a glass or 2 before every meal. Whenever you want a coffee have a glass of water first.
- Carry a water bottle with you wherever you go. Keep it in your bag then put it where you can clearly see it when you stop. Place it on your desk, on the seat beside you in the car or on the couch. Keeping it within eyesight will increase your chances of actually drinking it.
- Alternate between water and other drinks like coffee and alcohol. If you’re in a social situation make water your drink of choice between alcoholic beverages. It will lower your calorie intake and your body will thank you for it the next day.
- Set deadlines for yourself. How many glasses or bottles of water do you aim to drink each day and when do you need to drink them by. For example, if you need to drink 2 of your drink bottles worth of water each day, make sure you drink the first bottle before lunch time.
- Change up the temperature of your water. Do you prefer cold or room temperature water? Cold water may help with your metabolism, but that won’t help you if you don’t like it. Boiling water also counts, have a cup or two of tea or coffee.
- Add more spice to your food by adding hot sauces and peppers. You’re more likely to chug back the water afterwards and it’s a tasty excuse to add more flavour to your diet.
- Have a fancy glass or bottle to drink from. It feels festive and different to drinking from your normal vessel. Aerated water in a wine glass is a nice substitute if you’re not drinking alcohol.
- Drink from a reusable straw. It’s easier to drink water quickly through a straw than it is to sip from a cup.
Different Types of Water
Ok, we know why and how to drink more water, but what is the difference between different types of water?
Mineral water comes from a spring and contains beneficial minerals including calciums and magnesium.
Soda or Sparkling water is exactly that. Water that has been infused with carbon dioxide. It is essentially normal water with bubbles and hydrates just as well.
Purified water is water that has had all of it’s impurities reduced to no more that 10 parts per million. Which is higher than standard tap water. It removes chemicals and pathogen but not microbes. While it lacks hidden nasties, it also has beneficial minerals removed that our bodies need.
Spring water comes from an underground aquifier and is collected when it flows to the surface. It contains minerals, like mineral water but at a lesser concentration. This also gives it a less intense taste.
Signs of Dehydration
Knowing how to drink more water is one thing, but what happens if you don’t? Dehydration occurs when an individual has lost so much fluid that the body can no longer function properly. Light to moderate dehydration has the following signs:
- Feeling thirsty.
- feeling tired or sleepy
- less frequent bathroom visits, and urine is a dark colour
- dry or itchy skin
- dry mouth
- few or no tears
- urinary tract infections
- sinus issues
- nose bleeds
More severe dehydration could include:
- rapid heart rate
- dizziness or feeling light headed
- rapid heart rate
- poor skin elasticity, it doesn’t bounce back when pinched.
- low blood pressure when a person tried to stand up off the floor
- lethargy, confusion or coma
Signs you’re well Hydrated
- An easy one is to check out the colour of your urine. It should be fairly frequent and a pale yellow to clear. And it should definitely not smell.
- Try pinching the skin on your abdomen or lower part of your arm. If it snaps back straight away that’s good, if it’s a slow return to it’s normal state you need to drink more water.
- Sweet smelling breath.
Apps to Help with Hydration
Plant Nanny is available on Android and Iphone. You need to drink enough water to keep the cute plant alive. You can customize your goal based on weight and exercise level, and as well as great visuals it sends you reminders as often as you choose. It’s a bit like having a Tamagochi all over again.
Hydrate daily is a more grown up version of the water tracker. It has beautiful graphics, is goal based and the paid version sends you reminders. You can view your progress over the week and has a shop to purchase all your physical water guzzling needs.
Other Apps I haven’t personally checked out yet…
My Water Balance
Daily Water App
Drink Water Reminder