How Dehydration Affects Your Body
We all know that water intake is important, but perhaps it helps to know how necessary it is for proper function. Keeping properly hydrated actually works to fight against illness and disease by keeping your immune system, blood, organs, and body cells fueled. Without adequate hydration, your skin, heart, brain, digestive system, bladder, kidneys and energy are all taxed. To give a more specific example, when you are dehydrated, your blood thickens, which can lead to higher blood pressure or higher blood cholesterol, two conditions that contribute to heart attacks and heart disease.
Whatever your health goals and health conditions are, the basics always apply. Improving your hydration is obviously a good idea, and yet it is a hard habit to improve for many people. When there is so much to learn about what to eat and what not to eat, you can at least start on a straight-forward goal like drinking 2 litres of water every day. Here are some practical tips below to make this a healthier and more hydrated year.
5 Tips to Drink More Water
1. Have More Than One Water Bottle
In order to get your 8 glasses of water a day, break it down and schedule it in. If you get a bedside glass carafe, you can drink one glass right when you wake up and one more before you go to bed. That already takes care of 2, and you ensure that you begin and end your day with hydration. If you spend a lot of time commuting, carry a water bottle in your bag or car and sip it on public transport or your vehicle. Leave one beautiful water bottle or glass on your desk or wherever you spend the majority of your day, so you can have a visual reminder to drink throughout the day.
2. Pair Water with Everyday Activities
It can be helpful to associate drinking water with activities you already do. Drinking a full glass of water before every meal not only helps you get closer to your water quota, but can help with portion control if you aren't going into a meal with a completely empty stomach. Ask yourself what other daily routines are good reminders to drink water. You can
3. Make it Clockwork
If you work well with schedules and deadlines, then set an alarm on your phone to go off every 2 hours to drink a glass of water. If you enjoy using your phone, or are often referring to it throughout the day anyway, make it your personal assistant with your hydration and health goals. There are a variety of free apps for both iOs and Android users that will send you reminder notifications and help you track your hydration level throughout the day.
4. Add Flavour
A common reason that people don't reach for water is because they prefer the taste of other beverages. In comparison, water "tastes like nothing." Make your water more appealing by infusing it with flavour. This can also help break up the monotony as well: add green tea ice cubes or cucumber slices to your morning water, refreshing mint leaves to your afternoon water, and a cinnamon stick or lavender to your evening water. Other options include picking 7 flavours you like and designate one for each day of the week, or switch to a new infusion mix every week. Freeze berries in ice cubes, layer different flavours, or mix with a bit of sparkling water to keep your taste buds from getting bored.
5. Partner Up & Reward Yourself
Accountability makes a huge difference when you're trying to build a new habit. It's a pretty good bet that you will be able to find someone in your life who also needs to drink more water and hasn't found a system that works for them yet. Ask someone who you trust to be committed to the goal with you, and create a partner system. Maybe you don't think twice about ignoring a water app, and having to text picture evidence of empty water glasses to a friend or family member will have a higher success rate for you. Finally, don't forget about the power of a good treat as a reward for good behavior. Drinking water is a big step in taking care of your health, so you and your partner can encourage each other towards the treat you're hydrating towards!
Now that you've got some good ideas on how to build better hydration habits, go fill up a glass of water and get started!