It’s the most abundant substance on earth and in our bodies — laying claim to about 70 percent of the real estate — but it still remains an elusive afterthought for most of us until we’re thirsty.
The benefits of drinking water are numerous. It helps maintain the balance of those fluids that facilitate such essential bodily mechanics as digestion, circulation and the maintenance of body temperature; it satiates your thirst in lieu of higher-calorie choices like pop and juice; it flushes out toxins; it lends a healthy glow to your skin; it aids in the functioning of your kidneys and bowels; it increases your energy; and it combats the dehydration that brings on your headaches.
And the list goes on.
But even with such an extensive credential collection to recommend it, water lingers outside most of our daily must-dos for the maintenance of our health.
Here are some easy tips to turn that around, and transform drinking water into a more regular part of your daily routine to hydrate a healthier life:
• Make drinking a glass of water a habit. Whether you set a timer or incorporate it into your daily routines, try to make water the staple that accompanies your other activities.
• Cut juice with water, or sparkling water. That way, you get half the sugar content and a refreshing water-based beverage, to boot.
• Use a straw. Though the jury’s still out on whether or not we truly consume more when we drink through a straw, it can’t hurt to try. There’s a possibility that drinking through a straw will increase the amount of water you drink overall.
• Infuse your water with fruits, vegetables or herbs (think lemon, cucumber or lavender). These give your water a delicious flavor without the artificial ingredients of flavor packets.
• Drink a glass of water as soon as you get up in the morning. Make it a regular practice, every bit as important as brushing your teeth and scraping the sleep from your eyes.
• Use the fountain. If there’s a water fountain at your office, in your building or at your gym, make a point of drinking from it every time you go past.
• Engage your smartphone in the mission. Apps like Waterlogged and Daily Water help track, store and analyze your water consumption. And they’re free.
• Determine your temperature preference. For some, ice-cold water is the way to go. Others prefer room temperature. Make an effort to have water on hand that is at your preferred temperature and it will feel less like a chore to drink it.
• Eat your water — in the form of fruits and veggies. Such foods have lots of water in them, and so can add to your hydration significantly. Homemade water-based ice pops are also a good bet.
• Add bubbles. Sparkling water’s just as legitimately H2O as the pure stuff. Alternating between the flat and the bubbly keeps life interesting.
• Keep a water bottle — one that you like, and will actually use — with you in your car, desk drawer or purse. That way, the option to drink water is always available to you. And make a point of refilling it every time it’s empty.
• Set yourself a daily water-drinking objective. If you’re a goal-oriented person, establishing a target should motivate you to reach for your bottle.
• Count down, not up. Fill a large bottle or container with water in the morning, and drink from during the day: this way, you’ll know approximately how much you have consumed and how much you have left to go to meet the recommend daily amount, which is above 2 litres for adults.
• Engage others in a challenge. If you invite workmates or family members into a contest to see who can drink the most water in a day or a week, the competitive part of your psyche will kick usefully into gear.
At the end of the day (and at its start, too), the fact of the matter is that most of us don’t ingest enough of the wet stuff. (Don’t believe it? Check out the color of your urine: if it’s clear or light-hued, you’re well hydrated; dark yellow or amber urine usually indicates dehydration.) But this is one healthy habit that’s a breeze to establish. And why wouldn’t you? It’s free, it’s good for you and it’ll refresh your socks off.