Drinking water is very important to stay hydrated and healthy. While individual needs vary based on gender and lifestyle, the Institute of Medicine recommends that women between 19 and 50 years of age drink 2.7 liters (90 ounces) of water per day, and that men between 19 and age 50s drink 3.7 liters (125 ounces) per day. Reaching this goal can be difficult, but dividing your water intake throughout the day and finding alternative sources of hydration are techniques that will help you increase your daily fluid intake.
Part 1 of 2: Divide Your Water Intake Throughout the Day
Step 1. Drink a glass of water as soon as you wake up in the morning
Drinking water when you wake up will help boost your metabolism and re-hydrate after going all night without drinking fluids. Have a glass of water by your bedside or leave a note on your alarm clock to remind yourself to hydrate.
Step 2. Drink water every time you eat
Drink a glass of water with every meal to promote digestion by breaking down the food. In this way, the body will absorb the nutrients. Water also softens the stool and prevents constipation. Remember to drink water with your snacks throughout the day.
If you want to lose weight, drink water before eating to fill up faster
Step 3. Have a bottle of water with you at all times
If you work in an office, keep a bottle of water on your desk and sip throughout the day. Set reminders on your computer if you often forget to drink water. If your work is more physical, leave a bottle in a place that you can access on a regular basis. You can also take a bottle with you.
- If you want to keep a more accurate record of how much water you drink, buy a bottle that has measurement markings on it.
- Use a bottle with special features, such as insulation to keep the water cool, a built-in filter, or a separate cylinder inside to let it sit with fruit.
Step 4. Drink more water after exercising
If you exercise moderately, it will be enough if you drink a cup or two (250 to 500 milliliters) of water. However, if you exercise more vigorously and sweat a lot, you may need to drink a sports drink (such as Gatorade or Powerade), as it contains sodium, electrolytes, and carbohydrates to help replace nutrient loss through sweating..
Step 5. Download a water usage log app
There are many applications available for phones that will help you remember to drink water. The WaterLogged app allows you to keep track of your daily water consumption. Other apps (like OasisPlaces and WeTap) will help you find nearby water sources to refill your bottle for free.
Step 6. Keep the "250 times 8" rule in mind
People's individual needs are different to stay healthy. However, the “250 by 8” rule (250 milliliters or 8 ounces, 8 times a day) is easy to remember and will help you keep track of your water intake throughout the day.
In general, you should drink 250 milliliters or 8 ounces, 8 times a day
Part 2 of 2: Finding Alternative Sources of Hydration
Step 1. Drink juice, coffee or tea
Many people believe that caffeinated liquids are dehydrating, but this is not true if they are consumed in moderate amounts. Water is best, but if you prefer other beverages (like fruit juices or caffeinated coffee or tea), keep drinking them to meet your daily fluid intake requirements.
- Limit your caffeine intake to two to four cups of coffee or tea per day. Higher consumption can cause insomnia, irritability, headaches and other side effects. Children should avoid caffeine completely.
- Caffeinated drinks are not the best source of hydration for people who have not developed a tolerance to its effects. It may be a weak diuretic in the first few days of use, but tolerance soon develops after drinking it for four to five days. Also, the diuretic effect will disappear.
Step 2. Eat foods rich in water
About 20% of your daily water intake comes from food. Watermelon, celery, cucumber, and lettuce are good options to help you hydrate. Soups and broths are also a good way to help with your fluid intake.
Step 3. Use sugar-free sweeteners or flavor additives
If you don't like the taste of plain water, there are many products to add flavor or sweetness to a glass of tap water. Some are available in powder form, while others are available in liquid form.
- Be sure to read the ingredients in these products. Some contain thickening agents (such as propylene glycol) that are considered controversial.
- If you prefer something more natural, chop up some strawberries, lemons or cucumbers to let rest and flavor the water.
- If you are pregnant, breastfeeding, or have an illness such as a cold or the flu, increase your water intake beyond the recommended guidelines.
- It is possible to drink too much water, but it is rare and generally only worrisome if you exercise regularly at intense intervals, such as when training for a marathon.