Drinking water is an important key to staying hydrated and healthy. While individual needs vary, such as gender and lifestyle, the general recommendation for women ages 19 to 50 is about 2.5 liters per day and 3.5 liters per day for men in the same age range. Reaching that goal can be challenging, but your water consumption throughout the day and finding alternative sources of hydration will help you increase your daily fluid intake.
Part 1 of 2: Spreading water consumption throughout the day
Step 1. Drink a glass of water as soon as you get up in the morning
Drinking water when you wake up helps kick-start your metabolism and hydrate you after going all night without fluids. Keep a glass by your bed or leave a note on your alarm clock as a reminder.
Step 2. Drink water every time you eat
Take a glass of water with every meal. This aids in digestion by breaking down food so your body can absorb nutrients. Water also softens the stool and helps prevent constipation. Don't forget to drink water along with any snacks, even during the day.
If you want to lose weight, drink water before you start eating to feel full sooner
Step 3. Keep a glass or bottle of water with you throughout the day
If you work in the office, keep a bottle on your desk and drink from it throughout the day. Set alarms on your computer if you have trouble remembering them. If you have a more physical job, try to find a place to keep a bottle of water that you can access regularly, or just keep it with you.
- For more precise tracking of water intake, look for a bottle with measurements on the side.
- Try a bottle with special features such as insulation to keep the water cold, a built-in filter, a thick opening, or a separate cylinder for mixing water with fruit.
Step 4. Drink extra water after exercise
One or two extra glasses (0.5 liters of water) is sufficient after moderate exercise, but vigorous exercise with excessive sweating may require a sports drink such as Gatorade or Powerade. These drinks contain sodium, electrolytes and carbohydrates, which will help replace what you've lost through sweat.
Step 5. Find an app for tracking your water intake
There are several apps available on your smartphone to help you remember to drink more water. The WaterLogged app allows you to keep track of your daily water intake. Other apps even help you find nearby water fountains where you can refill your water bottle for free.
Step 6. Keep the "8x8" rule in mind
Each person needs a different amount of water to stay healthy. But the "8x8" rule (eight glasses, eight times a day) is easy to remember and can help you easily track your daily water intake.
In other words, this is about 0.25 liters, eight times a day
Part 2 of 2: Finding alternative sources of hydration
Step 1. Drink juice, coffee or tea
Many people believe that liquids with caffeine will dehydrate you, but this is not true if consumed in moderate amounts. Water is best, but if you prefer other drinks, such as fruit juice or caffeinated coffee and tea, keep drinking these to meet your daily fluid intake.
- Limit your daily caffeine intake to two or three cups of coffee or tea a day. You could otherwise experience insomnia, irritability, headaches or other side effects. Children should avoid caffeine altogether.
- Caffeinated drinks may not be a good source of hydration for those who do not have a developed tolerance to the effects of caffeine. It can be a weak diuretic in the first few days of drinking coffee, but soon tolerance develops with regular use for four to five days, and the diuretic effect wears off.
Step 2. Eat foods with a high water content
About 20% of your daily water intake comes from food. Watermelon, celery, cucumbers and lettuce are good, healthy food choices that help with hydration. Soups and broths are also a great way to sneak more water into your diet.
Step 3. Use sugar-free sweeteners or flavor additives
If you don't like plain water, there are a variety of products that add flavor or sweetness to a glass of water. Some are available as powder, while others are available as liquid additives.
- Read the ingredients of these products. Some contain thickeners such as propylene glycol which are considered controversial.
- If you prefer something more natural, try dicing strawberries, lemons, or cucumbers and add them to your water to infuse it with those flavors.
- If you are pregnant, nursing, or sick with a cold or flu, increase your water intake above the recommended guidelines.
- Try to drink from a glass, it drinks faster than from a bottle. If you do drink from a bottle, try a bottle with the largest opening possible. Try not to use a straw. If you do use a straw, use a thick straw so that you drink faster.
- It is possible to drink too much water, but this is rare and is generally only a concern if you regularly train at an intense level, such as training for a marathon.