Water is essential for human health; over 60% of the human body consists of water, and the effects of dehydration can be life threatening. Although there is considerable disagreement among scientists as to the exact amount of water individuals should consume each day, the former “8-by-8” rule of 64 ounces per day is no longer a hard and fast rule. Replacing high-calorie sodas or alcoholic drinks with plain water can help control appetite and weight, improve sleep and energy levels, reduce the likelihood of dental cavities or tooth decay, and help manage chronic conditions such as diabetes mellitus. If you would like to increase your water intake for athletic, dietary, or health purposes, there are many safe and effective ways to do so.
Motivate Yourself By Playing Water Drinking Games
Play Water Pong. Water drinking games can help you drink more water. Just remember not to drink too much water, since that can be fatal.
Clear everything off your table.
Fill each cup with 4 oz. of water. Make sure all the cups are equally filled.
Arrange 10 cups at each end of your table. You’ll want to position the two groups of cups as far away from each other as possible, so if your table is rectangular, set them up at the long ends of the table.
Align 4 cups in a row at the edge of the short end of the table.
Line up 3 more cups in a row in front of the line of 4.
Place 2 more cups in a row right in front of the row of 3 cups.
Place a final cup in front of the row of 2 cups. You’ll notice that you just formed a flat pyramid out of the 10 cups.
Arrange the remaining 10 cups at the opposite end of the table in the same pattern. Both peaks of the pyramids should be facing in, pointing in toward the center of the table.
Take turns trying to throw your ball into one of your cups at the opposite end of the table. When you get a ball into a cup, you get to drink the water in that cup. The person who finishes all their cups of water first, wins!
Play Water Bank. This is a great game for a family to enjoy together, but you can also play it with your roommates if you live with other people. Not only do you motivate yourself to drink more water while playing this game, but the winner also gets a cash prize at the end! You’ll need a piggy bank, a jar or a decorative bowl to hold the money you collect, and a notepad or a mobile phone to log your water intake each day. Here’s how to play:
Determine how long you will be playing the game. An easy time-frame to remember is the first to the last day of the month.
Decide how much each glass of water is worth. Since you’ll be contributing that amount of money to the piggy bank (or collection jar or bowl), make sure it’s an amount that everyone playing can afford.
Every time you drink a full 8 oz. glass of water, make a note of it. You can keep a simple tally in a notebook you carry around with you, keep track on your mobile phone, or create a log on your computer. Make sure that you play this game with people who you trust won’t cheat!
At the end of each day or week, deposit the value of water you drank into your communal bank.
When the game ends, count who contributed the most money to the bank. That person not only earned all the money, but they also drank the most water that month! If there’s a tie, split the bounty.
Get a Water Card.A water card is just like a coffee card–you get a stamp each time you drink a full 8 oz. glass of water. Once you fill up your card with stamps, you get a prize. You’ll need to make yourself a card and either have a pen on hand to cross off your boxes, stickers, or a stamp. Here’s how to play:
Create a table in a word processing program. Draw a 9 x 8 grid, label the top row 1 to 8 and the first column with the days of the week.
Copy the table 3 times on the page so that when you print it out, you’ll have three cards on each sheet.
Cut the cards out and put one in your wallet for the upcoming week.
Each time you finish drinking an 8 oz. glass of water, mark it off on your card.
Each day or week that you manage to fill your card with marks, give yourself a reward. Rewards can be anything from a chocolate at the end of the day, your favorite scone with your next cup of coffee, or even a new book or movie rental at week’s end.
Have a Charity Water Drive. Drink water to help a local charity. Pool together with your co-workers to see how much water you can drink in a month. The number of glasses you drink represents the amount of money you donate to your favorite charity. You’ll need a white board or a flip chart to log your office’s water consumption, and a jar or large envelope in which to store donations. Here’s how to play:
Send out an email inviting people to participate in the Charity Water Drive. Ask them to respond with their top three favorite charities, and the amount they would be willing to contribute per glass of water. The amount can range from a few cents to a few dollars.
Determine the length of time that the drive will last and when it will start. Your charity water drive can last a week, or even as long as a month. It all depends on how determined you are as a team to raise money for your chosen charity.
Create a grid on your whiteboard or flip chart to track your progress. List the names of everyone participating, and leave a place next to everyone’s name where they can tick off their water consumption each day.
Mark off your progress at the end of each day to help you determine when you’ve reached your goal. You can color in the inside of a drawing of a thermometer and celebrate once you’ve filled it all in.
Make your donation at the end of your charity drive.
Make Drinking Water More Convenient
Understand how much water you should plan on drinking every day. The Institute of Medicine recommends an average of 3.7 liters (125 ounces) per day for healthy adult men and 2.7 liters (91 ounces) per day for healthy adult women, allowing adjustments for activity and health levels, climate and elevation, and the amount of water consumed from food and other drinks.
Keeping in mind that 20 percent of daily water intake typically comes from food and 80 percent of water intake typically comes from a combination of plain water and other beverages, the amount of plain water you need to drink every day for optimal hydration will vary.
Perhaps the most important factor to successfully increasing your daily water intake is making it easier for you to drink water. Try some of these suggestions to make it a cinch to up your daily consumption of water.
Carry water with you. Having your own water supply on hand makes drinking water a no-brainer.
Slip a reusable water bottle into your purse, gym bag, desk drawer, or car, and be sure to refill it regularly.
Having accessible water makes you more likely to sip on water instead of soda or other drinks and can provide a visual cue to drink more water.
Develop reminders. Try setting alarms or computer reminders that tell you to drink water once per hour, or decide on a few personal “triggers” for drinking water.
Triggers to sip water can be routine activities such as receiving a phone call, passing a drinking fountain, stretching during work or workouts, hearing someone say your name, or watching commercial breaks during television programs.
Lobby for a water cooler in your office. If you have a water cooler or purified drinking system available to you and in close proximity throughout the work day, you may be more likely to grab a glass of water than to head to the kitchen to refill your coffee cup.
Prepare flavored water in advance. Having a large pitcher of pre-flavored or purified water in your home refrigerator makes it easy to refill your water bottle every morning or to grab a glass of water at each home meal.
Substitute Water for Sweetened Beverages and Alcohol
Understand that sweetened beverages or alcohol cannot be substituted for water. If you are a habitual soda or juice drinker, or if you routinely drink beer or wine with evening meals, consider swapping water for your typical drink of choice to increase your plain water intake. Although each of these beverages are very high in water content, you can increase your total water intake and remove the side effects of sweetened, caffeinated, and alcoholic beverages by drinking just water.
Replace at least one drink per day with water.
Consider a glass of water instead of a second cup of your morning vanilla lattes.
Plan to drink a full glass of water with your lunch before opening a can of soda.
Alternate between alcoholic drinks and water at parties, bars, or meals.
Make water your drink of choice. Replacing soda or sports drinks with water altogether may seem like overkill, but it is the easiest way to increase the amount of regular water you drink every day.
Instead of keeping a case of soda cans at your desk, consider lugging in a pack of bottled water, or use your new water habit as an excuse to stretch your legs a few times each day on your way to the water fountain.
Quench your thirst with water. Studies show that when you are thirsty, water will satisfy your thirst just as well as other beverages, such as sports drinks, soft drinks, or juice.
Drink Water Before, During, and After Meals
Make it a habit to down a quick glass around mealtimes. Drinking a glass of water — or at least a few sips — before, during, and after eating any meal is a great way to up your daily water intake.
Sip water with each meal. Replace your typical drink during meals with water, or at least have water to drink on the side. Not only can this save you money when you eat out, but it can also cut the calories you consume by drinking and make you less likely to consume additional calories from food.
Follow up each meal with a small glass of water. Drinking water during and after each meal can help you feel full longer after eating and aid in the digestion of your food.
Drink Unsweetened Water-Based Beverages
Sip on unsweetened tea. Herbal or fruit teas are essentially water with natural, non-caloric flavors.
Try drinking unsweetened tea hot in the morning as a replacement for hot, caffeinated beverages.
For a flavorful drink to get you through the rest of the day, try hot or iced teas in a variety of flavors, such as mint, strawberry, peach, ginseng, or lemon.
Add lime, lemon, or other natural flavorings to your water. Slipping a slice of citrus fruit into your water can add a subtle flavor to perk up plain water, making it easier to drink more water throughout the day. Try mint leaves, cucumber slices, or berries for other flavor options to add to your water.
Try carbonated water.
If you normally drink soda, sparkling water can give you a calorie-free, sweetener-free, fizz-fix will all of the benefits of regular water.
If you prefer flavored carbonated water, opt for one with no added sweeteners and only natural flavors. Otherwise, buy plain carbonated water and flavor it yourself.
Remember that water benefits lots of things. It helps moisturize lips, keeps from infections, ect.
Before you go to bed each night, put in the refrigerator the number of water bottles you would like to drink the next day. They’ll be cold and waiting for you when you wake up.
Most people consume enough water in response to their thirst and through their daily routines. If your urine is clear or light yellow you are likely consuming enough water.
You may need to increase your daily water intake during hot weather, time spent at high altitudes, or during periods of physical exertion.
Remember that food sources and water-based drinks can provide significant amounts of your necessary daily water intake. Foods such as watermelon, oranges, and tomatoes are up to 90% water, and soups, coffee, and juice count toward your daily water needs as well.
Drink a little water every morning before you brush your teeth for a refreshing start to your day.
Adequate hydration allows your body to remove waste, circulate blood and nutrients, support cellular health and biochemical processes, promote proper organ function, and maintain energy levels, among other essential bodily activities.
Do not attempt to regularly replace food with water as a weight-loss technique. Water is not intended to replace food in your diet, as you need the nutrients from solid foods to survive.
Increasing your water or fluid intake in the late evening 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 limit your beverage intake after dinner.
In some countries, tap water is dangerous and can cause illness. When in doubt, opt for purified or bottled water sources.
Drinking too much water is rare but can cause hyponatremia, an electrolyte imbalance, which can have serious negative health consequences, including death. By letting your thirst be your guide, consuming water from a variety of food and beverage sources, and following the recommendations of a health professional for health conditions or intense physical activity, you can avoid drinking too much water.
Drink only when you’re thirsty. Your body is its own doctor and will tell you how much water you need. In fact, you’re much healthier drinking when you’re only thirsty then drinking 8 glasses of water per day! Forcing yourself to drink 8 glasses of water per day gives you nothing but a big fat risk of over-hydrating, which is more dangerous than dehydration.