Water is the main chemical component in the body. It makes up between 50 and 70 percent of your entire body mass. Every organ, tissue, and individual cell needs it to function and survive.
Although water is essential to life, most people do not get enough of it. In fact, as much as 75 percent of the U.S. population is chronically dehydrated. This can affect your overall health and complicate existing medical conditions.
If you want to know how to drink more water, keep reading. The information below covers the many health benefits of drinking enough water and how much every person should consume each day. It also provides five tips for drinking more water that you can incorporate into your daily schedule.
What Are the Health Benefits of Water?
Everyone knows water is important to the body, but many people do not know why. While the biological functions of water in the body are complex, they can be broken down into a few main categories.
First, water helps regulate your body’s temperature. It distributes heat throughout the body and cools it through perspiration.
Water through perspiration serves another function: eliminating waste. Water is necessary for sweating along with urination and bowel movements to keep your body free of contaminants and waste.
Water plays a central role in protecting sensitive tissues. This includes those in the spinal cord, bones, muscles, and every organ throughout the body. Water also helps lubricate and cushion joints.
Water is essential for balancing fluids throughout the body. This is important for digestion, absorption, blood circulation, and the transportation of nutrients. This is vital for your organs, skin, hair, and nails.
Finally, water energizes your muscles. This happens through a balance of electrolytes in cells. Without water, these levels dissipate, causing muscle fatigue.
The reverse is also true for all the processes in the body that water impacts; dehydration causes these functions to break down. Consider even the most elite athletes; if they become dehydrated, performance suffers. That is because each of these functions––from body temperature control to energy production–– starts to break down.
How Much Water Should You Drink?
You may have heard that you should drink about eight (8-ounce) glasses of water every day, or about 64 ounces. That is a good rule of thumb, but it should probably be more like a minimum goal for any given person.
The water needs of any given individual vary greatly depending on several factors. These include your body type and size; where you live; activity level; and other factors. For instance, if you live in an area with high humidity and move around a lot during the day, you will need more water to replace that loss through perspiration.
There are other circumstances where you would need to drink much more of the recommended daily allotment than usual. These include if you are sick, pregnant, or breastfeeding.
A popular calculation based on body weight is to halve the number of pounds you weigh, which equals the ounces of water you should consume. So, a 200-pound person would need a minimum of 100 ounces of water every day for staying hydrated, if no other factors listed above come into play.
Also, keep in mind that other beverages can contribute to overall daily water consumption. Things like herbal tea and fruit juices have a lot of water, which can help you meet your goals.
Be mindful that components of some of these beverages, such as caffeine in tea and sugar in fruit juices, can undermine the positive effects of water and lead to dehydration. Plain or slightly altered (see below) water is the best way to go for staying hydrated.
How to Drink More Water
There are several things you can do to encourage and track water consumption throughout the day. Here are five to consider.
1. Set Goals
Notice that we said “goals” (plural). As mentioned, each person requires a different amount depending on physiology, environment, and lifestyle. You should set a daily goal to reach that number, but also smaller pursuits so that you can optimize your chance for success.
For instance, you may break down your daily allotment into quarters or even hours. You might have a water intake goal for the morning, afternoon, and evening, as well as a total for the day.
There are different smartphone apps and programs that can help you track water consumption. These are a good way to help you ensure you are meeting daily intake goals, but also to monitor water consumption over a period of weeks, months, or even years.
2. Carry a Watter Bottle
Having water with you at all times makes it more likely that you will drink more regularly. Especially during busy days, it keeps you from having to seek out a water supply.
Reusable water bottles are inexpensive and easy to find. If you prefer ice-cold water, try an insulated one. These can keep water cold for 12 hours or longer, depending on the size and brand.
As an alternative, you can keep your home or office stocked with bottled water. While this has the potential to contribute to more waste, being able to quickly grab a water on the go can help increase your water consumption.
3. Set Reminders
One of the best ways to address how to drink more water is to do so throughout the day. Frequently drinking water makes it easier to meet your intake goals, but it also gives you cells the benefits of it without the risk of dehydration during any given part of the day.
If you are someone who forgets to drink water and is always trying to play catch-up, start setting reminders. These can be for any interval and are easy to set up as recurring prompts on almost any smartphone or watch.
According to some psychological studies, habit formation can take up to two months or more. It can be even more daunting to break bad habits (depending on what they are). Reminders for water intake are a handy tool for anyone, but they can also help establish healthier routines.
4. Add Fruit or Herbs
If you get tired of the blandness of water, consider infusing it with some natural flavor. Popular choices of fruit include lemons, limes, and various types of berries. Try experimenting with pineapple or melon––any fruit that you regularly enjoy eating.
Cucumbers or herbs––like mint, basil, or cilantro––also can add enough flavor to make water much more appealing. These additions can especially refreshing during the hot summer months.
If you want to avoid having chunks of fruit or vegetables floating around in your water, try a bottle with an infuser. These allow the flavors to seep into the water while keeping the food separate. For a cheaper alternative, try freezing pieces of fruit and adding them to your water.
Note that adding lemon to your water has a unique benefit: it has an alkaline effect on the body. This can be confusing, since lemons are acidic. When processed by the body it increases alkalinity, which can combat inflammation and even some diseases.
5. Use Water Enhancers
Making water more palatable is a great way to encourage consumption. Water enhancers are an easy way to make water taste like a completely different beverage.
Quality enhancers have the added benefit of containing vitamins and electrolytes, that plain water lacks. This is healthy for anyone, but it can be particularly advantageous for sports and exercise.
Many prominent water enhancers come in portable, single-use powder packets or small liquid containers. This makes it convenient to enhance your water away from home, including at work, sporting events, or the gym.
Besides encouraging water consumption, water enhancers can be a great alternative to other, less-healthy drinks, like soda. They can be a huge asset for dieters or anyone looking to eliminate sugar and other unhealthy chemicals found in "diet" drinks.
Be careful: some water enhancers are packed with sugar or undesirable chemicals. These are more common with “sports drinks,” but check the ingredients. Quality enhancers will come from natural sources that yield healthy ingredients.
Learn More About the Health Benefits of Water
Now that you how to drink more water, you can implement these strategies into your daily life. With only a little planning and effort, you can ensure you are optimizing your health by getting as much water as you need.
At Stur, we use natural flavors extracted from real fruits and vegetables to produce water-enhancing drinks and drink mixes. Stur will improve the taste of your water, while helping you stay hydrating and delivering vitamins and nutrients.
Order online today, and feel free to reach out to us with any questions you might have.