There are a variety of reasons to drink plenty of water each day. Adequate water intake prevents dehydration, cleans out the body, and promotes healing processes. Substituting water for beverages high in calories can also help control weight. Follow the steps below to make sure you're getting enough of this most basic necessity.
1. Determine how much water you need. You've probably heard the "8 X 8" rule--drink eight 8-ounce glasses of water per day--but the amount of water a person needs varies depending on his or her weight and activity level. A better way to determine your recommended water intake is to divide your weight (in pounds) by two. The resulting number is the number of ounces of water you need each day. For example, if you weigh 150 lbs., strive to drink 75 ounces of water daily. Metric people should divide their weight in kilos by 30 - so somebody weighing 70kg is going to need 2.3 liters per day.
2. Measure your daily intake of water. Do this for a few days. If you find that you're drinking less than the recommended quantity, try some of the following tips.
3. Make it a habit to drink a sip of water between every bite while you're eating, but make sure this doesn't upset your stomach. If it does, reduce your fluid intake during meals to a level that you're physically comfortable with.
4. Carry water with you everywhere you go in a bottle or other container. Before long, you'll find yourself reaching for it without a second thought.
5. Keep a glass or cup of water next to you whenever you'll be sitting down for a long time, such as when you're at your desk at work. Drink from it regularly as you're working.
6. Try wearing a digital watch that beeps at the beginning of each hour. Use that as a reminder to pour yourself a glass of water. Vow to drink that water before the next beep. If you drink only one small (6 ounce) cup per hour, you'll have consumed 48 ounces by the end of an 8-hour workday.
7. Get a water purification system. Purified water tastes very good and may help make drinking water more appealing to you. Be aware, though, that as you grow accustomed to purified water, you may find that tap water leaves a bad taste in your mouth.
• Except in very rare cases, it is not necessary to buy expensive bottled water. Companies that sell water have a financial interest in convincing you that tap water is undesirable. However, if you choose to drink tap water, please be aware of the pollutants and additional chemicals that exist in many tap water sources. Some studies have linked the long-term accumulation of these chemicals in your body to chronic health problems. A simple water filtration system or boiling of the water will help reduce these risks.
• Instead of that Coke, try a glass of water. It may not be as tasty, but it's a lot better for you than drinking almost ten teaspoons of white sugar. It's also considerably cheaper, especially if you drink tap water.
• If you really can't stand the taste of your water, try adding a tiny bit of fruit juice or a squeeze of lemon or lime--just enough to slightly change the taste. Refrigerating your water may also help make it more palatable.
• For a feeling of accomplishment, fill two 32-ounce water bottles in the morning and make sure you have consumed the contents of both by the end of the day.
• The body needs to burn calories to maintain itself at its critical operating temperature of 98.6 degrees. If you drink eight to ten glasses of ice-cold water everyday, the body will burn excess calories in order to raise the temperature to 98.6! If you drink eight glasses--64 ounces.--of ice-cold water every day, your body will have to burn about 70 calories per day to warm that water to body temperature. To lose 1 pound, you need to burn around 3,500 calories
• Drinking a full glass of water first thing in the morning helps wake the body up. So kick-start your day with water!
• Water helps you look good. By flushing out toxins and impurities, water can make your skin clearer, smoother and younger looking.
• Drinking water helps you control hunger. Drink a large glass of ice water just before meals. The cold causes your stomach to shrink somewhat, which will make you feel full more rapidly.
• Whether drinking tap or bottled water, do some research on the source. In some places, such as Philadelphia, the tap water actually contains the same electrolytes that are in Gatorade. On the other hand it's also possible that your bottled water may be from a different source than its name suggests. If the bottle says 'Municipal Water Supply' or something to that effect, then the company has simply bottled tap water, and you're probably wasting your money.
• If you find out you have lead plumbing, and water is abundant in your area, let the water run for about thirty seconds before filling your glass. This can reduce the amount of lead--and the bad taste that accompanies it--in the water you drink. If you live in an area with a shortage of water, however, this is probably not a good option.
• Some people believe that you should drink water only 20 minutes before a meal, not during or immediately after eating. The theory is that your digestive juices need to remain undiluted in order to properly break down your food for proper nutrient uptake.
• Every time you walk past a water fountain, take a sip or two.
• Gradually increase your daily intake of water by starting with, for example, 1L. Keep a 1L bottle of water in the fridge and aim to have it finished by the end of the day. Increase this amount every day.
• Aim to finish a glass of water with every meal.
• Increasing your water intake may cause you to have to get up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom. To avoid this, you may want to stop drinking water a few hours before bedtime.
• While adequate water is essential to health, it is possible to drink too much water or any other beverage, and there has been considerable scientific debate surrounding how much water a person really needs per day. Drinking excessive amounts of water can cause serious health problems for some people.
• People with some heart conditions, high blood pressure or swelling of the lower legs (edema) need to avoid excess water. If you have a history of kidney problems, especially if you have had a transplant, consult your doctor before increasing your fluid intakes.
• You shouldn't drink too much water while eating as it waters down your stomach acid and can cause digestion problems.
• If you live in a place with a lot of heat (i.e., the desert), you will have to drink extra water.