There are some things that drinking the right amount of water each day probably can’t help. Things like baby-hairs ruining your updo, and unrequited love. But what it can do is help you reach every single physical goal you’re trying to reach – and that’s not an exaggeration.
The human body needs water not just to survive, but to thrive. Whatever your physical goal is, water can help you obtain it. Weight loss, muscle gain, strength gains, toning; even things related to productivity, energy levels, reduced anxiety and increased capacity for focus and concentration.
The cells in our bodies that are responsible for carrying out all the functions that the human body is designed to carry out cannot work as they should if they’re not getting enough water. That doesn’t just mean that they’re struggling after a 20km run – they’re struggling to keep up and help you live life when they aren’t receiving the minimum water requirements; which is eight glasses (2 litres) per day.
Don’t freak out!
A lot of people have a momentary lapse in mental stability after I tell them how much water we require every day; and granted, it does sound like a lot, especially if you don’t particularly enjoy drinking water. So, here are some practical ways to try and keep yourself adequately hydrated:
Have a Glass with Dinner
Actually, with lunch and dinner. That’s an easy way to cross off two of the eight glasses per day, and it’ll help the food go down (and reduce bad-breath after a meal).
Get a cute jug
Something that helped me drink more water was buying a cute little water jug. I keep it on my bedside table with a glass, and the first thing I do after waking up is drink half a glass of water. As I get up and brush my teeth, stretch, get dressed, and read my Bible, I keep filling the glass and taking sips.
The jug and glass stay on the dining table throughout the day, so whenever I see them, I remember to drink water.
Buy a nice water bottle
The terms ‘cute’ and ‘nice’ are practical suggestions. If you like the look of something, you’re more likely to keep it in a noticeable place and use it.
Your water bottle, particularly, needs to be something you’ll enjoy having with you or carrying around.
If you have a favourite colour, or a typical accessory colour theme, try to find one that fits your wardrobe. Think about how heavy it is, what shape it is, if it feels nice to hold, and if it’s easy to drink from on the go.
When you drive or catch the train anywhere, have your water bottle sitting in your lap. Whenever you stop at a light or need something to do with your hands, take a sip of water.
If you’re moving around a lot, carry your bottle with you and take sips as you walk.
Whenever you catch up with friends for coffee or a meal, go out of your way to get some glasses and a bottle/jug of water for the table. Try to get through at least one glass of water alongside your food or other beverage. If you’re a competitive type, try to finish the bottle before you head off (between you and the other person… don’t be weird about it).
A few people have told me about apps you can download on your phone that remind you periodically to drink water. This is pretty much the new-age version of keeping a jug where you can see it. If you’re more of an app-person, this might be a good strategy. Just remember though, that like most ‘reminder’ apps, it’ll get old eventually and you’ll probably delete it from your phone to clear some memory. Don’t rely on the app, use it to help make water consumption a daily habit.
Coffee Connoisseurs and Tea Lovers
I’m sure I don’t need to tell you that a lot of teas and all of coffees have caffeine in them (bar de-caff, chai, and weird experimental lattes… Beetroot? Really?). You should make sure that for every cup of coffee or caffeinated tea, you’re drinking at least one extra cup of water (that’s right, on top of the eight cups a day. Think about it; is that third coffee really worth it? No.)
I’m not going to beat around the bush here; if you’re disciplined enough to workout, be it running, weights, or sport, you should be disciplined enough to drink more water.
For every hour of exercise, you need to drink an extra litre of water.
It’s easier than it sounds – if your workout isn’t making you thirsty enough to drink an extra litre, you’re probably not doing it right.
It sounds dramatic, but drinking enough water really is a discipline. And, like many physical disciplines, it brings with it a plethora of health benefits. So, if you want (or, let’s face it, need) to lose that extra bit of fat, put on some more muscle, or increase your study or work efficiency, get that water flowing through your body (but don’t drink too much at one time, otherwise it will literally be flowing through your body, if you know what I mean).
The first (and easiest) place to start is to increase your water intake, not just because it’s necessary but because the discipline is practise for everything else in life.
One small step for health; one giant leap for a better life.