Every system and organ in your body depends on water to keep you alive. Your body loses water through daily functions like breathing, perspiration, urine and bowel movements. Your daily water loss through these functions needs to be replenished through consuming beverages and foods containing water. Here is a look at how to increase your water intake without overthinking it.
What is the Max Amount of Water You Can Drink in a Day?
There is no easy answer to this question as it can depend on your age, health, how active you are and where you live. However, better understanding your body’s need for water will help you determine an answer to this question.
You may have heard that you are supposed to drink eight 8oz (1.9 liters) of water a day. The Institute of Medicine has determined adequate intake for men is roughly 13 cups (3 liters) and 9 cups (2.2 liters) for women. The eight 8oz a day rule is not far off. However, the right amount of water will depend on each individual. A general rule of thumb is to drink when you feel thirsty. Discuss your current health and lifestyle with your doctor, to help determine how much water you should be drinking in a day.
What Factors Affect Daily Water Intake?
Studies show that athletes can lose 2 quarts of water per hour while exercising. If you exercise, you should increase your water intake to replace the water lost. Drink water before, during and after a workout to maintain your body’s water level.
The type of work performed and the climate in which the job is performed may mean you need to increase your water intake. Strenuous physical occupations or those working in hot conditions will need to increase their water intake in order to replenish the water lost through perspiration.
There are several factors in the environment that can affect our body’s water supply. Hot or humid environments make us sweat more. During the winter heated indoor air, forces our skin to lose more moisture. Higher altitudes trigger increased urination and more rapid breathing, in which more fluids are used. Considering your environment is crucial to determining if you need to increase your water intake.
Illness or Health Conditions
Fever, vomiting, and diarrhea cause our bodies to lose fluids more quickly. Conditions such as bladder infections and urinary tract stones increase our body’s need for water.
Pregnancy & Breastfeeding
Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding need to drink more water than normal to stay hydrated. Pregnant women should drink about 10 cups (2.3 liters) of water a day. Women who are breastfeeding need to drink 13 cups (3.1 liters) a day because large amounts of fluids are used when nursing.
For an estimate of the amount of water, you should drink a day the International Bottled Water Association offers a hydration calculator, which recommends water intake guidelines tailored to you.
How Can I Trick Myself Into Drinking More Water?
Drinking enough water every day may seem like a daunting task but making your water more interesting will make it easier to get to your goal each day.
Add Natural Flavor
Try adding fruits, vegetables, and herbs to add more taste to your water. You can amp up the flavor by adding the flavor to the water and placing it in the fridge for a few hours before consuming.
Use a Straw
Using a straw allows you to drink more water quicker.
Add Drinking Water to an Existing Regimen
Adding drinking water to an existing regimen will help you remember to drink up. Try drinking water after you brush your teeth in the morning or before you eat lunch. Consider investing in home water delivery to ensure fresh water is always at hand.
Set a Goal for the Day
Setting a goal for the day gives you something to work towards. Your goal may be as little as replacing one soda with water or making it a point to always order water when you eat out.
Create a Custom Water Bottle with Deadlines
Design a water bottle with lines and marked times so you know how much you want to drink every couple of hours.
Lobby for a Water Cooler in your Office
Ask for a water cooler to be placed in your office in close proximity to your workspace. You may be more likely to grab more water if it is readily available.
Keep Water Close
Keep your cup or water bottle in close proximity to you. If you work at a desk, keep the water on your desk so you see it often. If you are going out to run errands throw a bottle of water in your bag or car for easy accessibility.
Use your Phone
There are apps available for your phone that remind you to drink more water and help you track your daily intake. We recommend Waterlogged for the iPhone and Water Your Body for the Android. If you are not an app person, try setting reminder alerts in your phone as to when to go to the water cooler for a refill.
Benefits of Increasing Water Intake
We have all heard of the many benefits of increasing our water intake, but just how many things can water improve?
Water increases satiety and boosts your metabolic rate which therefore can help with weight loss. If you drink cold water, your body will use more additional energy (calories) to heat the water to body temperature.
Water helps maintain your skin’s elasticity which means your skin is less likely to crack or dry out. This can also help minimize the appearance of wrinkles as you age.
Maximizes Physical Performance
Athletes sweat when they exercise therefore leading to a decrease in their body’s water content. Dehydration in athletes can lead to altered body temperature control, reduced motivation, increased fatigue, and even make exercise more difficult, both physically and mentally. Keeping hydrated will prevent these symptoms from happening and improve your energy levels.
Drinking plenty of water can help prevent and relieve constipation in both young and elderly people.
Drinking a glass of water half an hour before a meal helps you to feel fuller so you eat fewer calories.
Side Effects of Increasing Water Intake
While you might think that you could never drink too much water, you could! Overhydration is called hyponatremia. Consider limiting your water intake if you experience the following side effects.
Constantly adding water to your body can result in low sodium levels in your blood which can cause the cells in your body to swell. When these cells swell in your brain, it may lead to headaches throughout the day.
Swelling or discoloration in hands, lips, and feet. If the cells in your body are swelling due to drinking too much water, your skin may also noticeably start to swell due to excess water in your bloodstream.
Drinking too much water may also lead to frequent urination throughout the night. Try having your last cup of water a few hours before you go to bed. This will give your kidneys ample time to filter the water through your body.
Vomiting or feeling nauseous may be a sign that you are drinking too much water. Your kidneys are unable to process all the liquid and the water starts to collect in your body.
Stay on Top of Your Hydration Levels
Having an ample amount of water throughout the day can lead to better productivity and mood. It is important to know how to increase your water intake in a safe way without overthinking or causing side effects. While there are general guidelines to how much water you should be drinking, we recommend you talk to your doctor before increasing or decreasing your water intake.