How much water should you drink, and why it helps you stay healthy.
Why Drink More Water?
A short while ago I decided to try living a bit more healthy. I had been noticing that I was always tired, I was constantly feeling dehydrated, even though I thought I was drinking enough water, and I had sore muscles, especially my back, quite often.
After doing some research, I came to the conclusion that I need to drink more water. Since water is essential to your body, I knew that I had to find out the best way to drink, to get the most out of water. I'm a fan of optimizing your time and efforts on any task, so instead of just guzzling water when I felt thirsty, I knew there must be a way to optimize your drinking habits to benefit your body.
What I found was some pretty strong science on proper drinking habits, the best times to drink water, how much to drink and more!
How Much Water Should You Drink Daily?
We know the common axiom 'drink 8 glasses of water a day', but I find that extremely vague and mis-informed, since I don't know how much a 'glass' is, and there is no way 8 glasses works for both someone who is small and thin, and someone who is tall and heavy. The body types are all over the place, so why would 8 glasses work for everyone?
The best way to find out how much you should be drinking is to take your weight in pounds, divide by two and that number is the number of ounces you should drink each day.
So for example, if you weighed 160lbs, this equation would work for you:
160lbs / 2 = 80 oz
80 oz = 2.37 litres
So essentially, if you weight 160lbs, you should be drinking at least 2.37 liters of water each day.
You should also factor in a few other numbers. If you're playing sports or working out, add an extra 10% to that (at least). If you're in a dry area, or experiencing dry weather (like us up in Canada during the winter!), add another 10% for that day.
If your goal is to lose weight, and are drinking more water as part of your weight-loss/fitness plan (it really shouldn't be the only part of your plan!), then make sure to do a weekly or bi-weekly weight test to see if this number should change.
When Should You Be Drinking Water?
Once you know the amount of water you should be drinking daily, its not just about drinking that much in one sitting. There are essentially biological 'rules' to follow for when to drink water to maximize its power.
- 400-600ml At A Time
Your body can only process up to 600ml of water per hour. This means that anything beyond that will be waste, and will pretty much just 'flow through' you. So when you're drinking, make sure to only drink less than 600ml at once. A good suggestion is to either use a 500ml water bottle, or a glass that you know is only 400-600ml, and just use that throughout the day to limit your hourly intake.
- Mornings and Nights
In most cases, the longest you'll go without drinking water will be while you sleep. This is why it is very important to drink before bed and immediately after you wake up. A glass of water before bed will help keep you hydrated throughout the night, which is when your body needs to regenerate. Then, a glass first thing in the morning will help give you that boost that you'll need to start the day off by hydrating back what you lost overnight. There are also benefits of drinking a glass of warm water with lemon first thing in the morning.
- Before and During Meals
Drinking around the time of meals helps in a number of ways. First, drink a glass of water within 30 minutes of starting a meal. This not only helps aid in digestion by prepping the stomach acids, it will also help fill you faster, so you eat less (which is a good thing for most people!). Drinking water during a meal will also help your body break down food better, meaning you'll also digest it better, meaning you'll get more nutrients out of it.
Just a note, drinking a lot of water immediately after a meal doesn't help much, as your body is already working on digesting what you just ate. Give it at least 45 minutes before drinking a glass of water again.
5 Ways to Drink More Water
Now you know why you should drink more water, and when, here's the 'HOW'.
- Keep it near you.
Essentially, don't let yourself forget to drink. This part is fairly easy. Find a water bottle you like, and take it everywhere with you. Make sure it stays on your desk at work, or within eyesight. Put a glass on your kitchen counter, or on your bathroom counter for a reminder first thing in the morning. Bring a bottle in your car while you drive (this one is what gets me though each day!).
- Find a drinking buddy.
You can have at least two drinking buddies to remind you to drink water: one at home, one at work. Just tell them your goals, and every time they see you, they can ask if you've drank enough today!
- Set a daily drinking goal.
There is a set amount of water you should be drinking each day based on your weight. The 8 glasses idea isn't really the best way to measure, so make sure you know how much water to drink each day. Then, try to hit that goal daily. It may be hard to start, but once you're on a pattern, it'll be come a habit and you'll be hitting that mark easily.
- Use technology.
There are a large number of great apps to help you track your drinking, as well as send you reminders of when to drink. Think of it as a challenge or game and you'll be trying to hit your goals each day! Some of the better apps (which i'm not affiliated with at all) include: Hydro Coach (android), Water Your Body (android) and Waterlogged (iphone).
- Add flavor.
Some people just don't like the flavor (or lack of) of plain water. Personally, I love the taste of tap water over bottled. So if you're one of these people, try adding flavor to the water. I'm not an advocate of those 'flavor shots', so I try to go more natural. You can use fresh lemon in the water, or cut strawberries, cucumber, mint, or a mixture of any of those. My suggestion is to get an infuser, or just mix a large pitcher of water and use it throughout the day.
Help Us Out!
How do you make sure you drink enough water every day?
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