While keeping your body hydrated is one of the easiest ways to improve your health, research shows that nearly half of us are dehydrated. To stay healthy and hydrated, you should be drinking at least half your body weight in ounces of water daily. If you don’t drink enough, it can affect your body temperature, energy, brain function, digestion, mood, performance, and joint health. Use the tips below to hydrate better and improve your health.
1. Drink a glass first thing in the morning.
When you wake up, drink a glass of water before enjoying your morning cup of Joe, tea, or juice. Drinking water will replace fluids lost during the night and jumpstart your hydration for the day.
2. Do a mid-day hydration check.
Looking at the color of your urine is the easiest way to monitor your hydration. If your urine is darker than lemonade, you’re dehydrated. Make it your daily goal to have clear urine by 3 p.m. It will give you a good idea of how well you’re hydrating in the morning. If your urine isn’t clear, drink water immediately and work to hydrate better the rest of the day.
3. Naturally flavor your water.
Water doesn’t have to be boring. Add a burst of flavor with sliced fruit like lemon, lime, orange, watermelon, mango, kiwi, pineapples, berries, pineapple, cantaloupe, and grapes. Cucumbers with thyme, lemon with mint leaves, and sliced ginger root are also tasty options.
4. Keep a water bottle with you at all times.
To stay hydrated, keep a one-liter bottle with you at all times. A liter is equal to 33 ounces, so plan to fill up your water bottle based on your personal hydration needs. If you weigh 120 pounds, that’s two to three refills per day.
5. Replace soda, juice, and coffee with water.
While it’s clear that water is the best option for hydration, sodas, juices, and coffee drinks can be tempting. Not only are they loaded with calories and sugar, they can also dehydrate your body. As a starting point, work to decrease your intake of these drinks to one per day. Substituting water for a 20-ounce soda will save you about 240 calories. This can help with hydration and weight management.
6. Set a reminder.
It’s easy to forget to hydrate until you feel thirsty, but by that time you’re already dehydrated. Set a schedule or calendar reminder a few times throughout the day to help you remember to refill your glass and hydrate.
7. Eat more fruits and veggies.
Eat two to three servings of fruits and vegetables at every meal. Unlike processed foods (sugar, flour, salty snacks, lunch-style meats), fruits and vegetables are high in water and minerals. For a list of water-filled foods to add to your diet, read “22 Foods to Keep You Hydrated.”
8. Hydrate when you exercise.
Just 2 percent dehydration can lead to a 20 percent decrease in performance. During the day drink 1/2 to 1 ounce of water for every pound you weigh. In the two hours before you exercise, drink 16 ounces. Follow that with 4-6 gulps of water every 15 minutes during your workout. After you exercise, drink 16 ounces of water for every pound of weight you lost during training.
9. Drink before you eat.
Before each meal, drink at least three gulps of water. Thirst can often be confused with hunger. To avoid overeating and dehydration, drink a few gulps of water at the first feelings of thirst or hunger. Wait a bit and then decide if you’re really hungry.
10. Finish your day with water.
Before you go to bed, drink a glass of water to stay hydrated overnight. If you prefer a hot beverage to kickstart or end your day, drink hot water with lemon.