Staying Hydrated

How often do we hear or read about the importance of drinking 6-8 glasses a day? I am sure most of us have heard it but probably can not say why it is important to drink that much. For most of us, we know it flushes toxins out of the body, avoids the feeling of dehydration and that water is crucial before bed to avoid a nasty hangover the next day. Recently, I have had a few clients ask me, how much I drink and how do I increase my water intake.

I will be honest; I have struggled with increasing my water intake over the past year. It has been one of my personal goals for 2 years in a row that I have not been able to accomplish. I had put it on my list of goals last year after listening to many podcasts and reading several books on enhancing performance and productivity. Water seems to come up every time.

One of the most memorable statistics I heard was from Dr. Lisa Mosconi, a Ph.D. degree in Neuroscience and Nuclear Medicine and is a certified Integrative Nutritionist and holistic healthcare practitioner. She states the brain is 80% water and only a 2%-4% dehydration in the brain can cause fatigue, confusion, dizziness, memory lapses, difficulty concentrating and difficulty sleeping. She suggests drinking warm water because it helps rehydrate the body faster because it promotes the absorption of fluids into the bloodstream (vs. cold water constricts).

Other reasons why drinking water is so important to our health:

  • Improves your physical performance – endurance & strength
  • Improves brain cognitive function
  • Increases your metabolism – promoting weight loss
  • Reduces the effects of skin ageing

After learning more about how crucial it is to stay hydrated, I have tried many ways to increase my water. In the beginning, I found that I usually ended up realizing at the end of the night I still had 4 glasses left and started chugging down water. Which I also learned is not hydrating, the water ends up just going through you without removing toxins. And so, my nutritionist suggests sipping water through the day rather than chug the entire glass in one go. I tried a water reminder app on my phone, and that quickly became another distracting notification taking me away from the flow of my work. I almost bought the bottle that lights up to remind you to drink but decided against it.

Here are some tips that have worked for me:

Add some flavour –  Part of the reason I have struggled with drinking water is just the taste being so plain. I have started to add some fruits and veggies to make it more appealing. Lemon slices are a common addition to water which I enjoy but have avoided drinking because of the impact on the enamel of your teeth, so I limit it to only one glass of lemon water. If you do enjoy lemon in your water, consider drinking it through a straw or brushing your teeth after. I switch up my water by adding raspberries, blueberries, mint, cucumber, orange slices. These are all great ways to add some flavour in and get some extra benefits from the fruits and veggies too.

Fill several bottles of water – I had been drinking out of one of my reusable bottles but found by the end of the day I did not know how much I drank. I would always be adding water to a partially filled bottle. So, I started filling 3 bottles of water in the morning, that way I would know how much I had drunk through the day. I would also place them in different places in my home to trigger me to drink water wherever I was. This I found to be immensely helpful in reaching my daily water intake goal.

Rubber Band Challenge– If you have that one favourite bottle or glass you enjoy drinking from, another trick I have found is to put the number of colourful rubber bands – for example, 8 rubber bands around your glass to pull off and place on your wrist when you have drunk your entire glass. It is a simple, easy way to track your water intake and you may find yourself excited by completing each glass and being able to put another rubber band on your wrist. Small victories throughout the day can help your motivation to increase your water intake. Try it with your partner and see who ends up winning the challenge each day.

For some drinking 8 glasses or more is a simple habit that has become a part of your day. For others, like myself, I get into the flow of work and meetings that I forget to stay hydrated. But as research has shown, drinking an adequate amount of water is essential for good health and well-being. It’s worth the effort to find ways to drink just one more glass each day.

What are some of your tips for drinking more water?