“Drink more water” is often scribbled in as an afterthought when writing out wellness resolutions or intentions. It’s not always the most obvious health mission to tackle when “lose 20 pounds” or “run a marathon” are so much more audacious and exciting to jot down. The thing is, water is really and truly the foundation of all health—there’s a reason why it’s our most essential need. It ensures we can achieve our fitness goals and recover after a hard workout, it satiates us, it keeps all the cells in our body functioning properly and our brain working optimally. When we haven’t had enough water, we feel groggy, lethargic, cranky and our head literally hurts. Given all the negative side effects of not drinking enough water, it’s shocking how many of us seem to be in a state of near-chronic dehydration. If you have drinkable water and an amazing filtration system like Brita’s, then fill up a glass of water and start taking in my 7 tips for staying hydrated every day!
1. At your work station, have a clear pitcher or large vessel (containing at least 1L) right at your desk.
This is literally what I do every day and there’s some specifications listed above for a couple reasons. First of all, ensuring it’s clear (a pitcher like Brita’s or a glass bottle) will give you an easy visual cue to see how you’re doing with your water intake, and it encourages you to finish it. Ensuring it’s a larger vessel means that not only can you take stock of how much you drank (knowing you got through a good 2L over the course of the day if you went through 2 big bottles), but it means you won’t get up and down so much to fetch water—in other words, it minimizes the inconvenience factor so that you just keep drinking water instead!
2. Create a few favourite fusions.
I’ve actually always loved the taste of water, but that’s in part because I live in Vancouver where we have some of the cleanest water in the whole world—super lucky in that regard! But it’s also because I’ve always filtered my water, even with cleaner tap water. You want to minimize any chemicals or minerals because not only is it not great for you, but it will take away from the enjoyment of drinking water. Having said that, having some fusions is key for me even with my love for water—my go-to is lemon raspberry (literally toss in a few lemon slices and some frozen raspberries), but mint-lime and a pineapple-ginger-mint combo I can’t live without in the summer are my other go-to’s!
3. Carry a bottle with you everywhere.
I know, I know—it doesn’t fit in your little bag! Trust me, there are ways to work around whatever your issue so that you can always have water on you. Not a fan of the water coming out of fountains in your city or building? Get a bottle with an internal filtration system! Are your bags usually too small to carry a 0.5L bottle? Then get a mini bottle! Prefer glass over plastic? You can even fit a mason jar with a drinkable top! Seriously, figure out a way to have it on you because it’s the days when you’re running around between meetings that will result in serious dehydration if you’re not on top of it!
4. Drink a full 0.5L before, during and after any medium-high intensity workout.
This is where I have the toughest time—I often get caught up in my workouts and really have always loved pushing myself, so often when I’m done a harder workout I’ll feel this cranial pressure start creeping in. Even if I was drinking water during my workout, it’s a quick cue that I likely had too much coffee or didn’t drink enough water leading up to my workout! If I know I’m gonna get my sweat on, I try to make sure I have a full bottle in the hour leading up to my workout, that I fill up once I’m at the gym and that I have another full bottle immediately afterwards.
5. Set timers or designate cues.
If you’re still really struggling to get enough water in during the day, set about 4 timers to remind yourself to work through your bottle of water. The best times for me are mid-morning (I always drink a big thing of lemon-water first thing upon waking), around 1, around 4 and then again in the evening. Pay attention to your body though—for whatever reason, I tend to need more water in the evening so usually make sure I’m supplementing with some herbal tea or sparkling water in addition to my ever-present glass to make sure I don’t run the risk of getting thirsty! Another great idea if you’re not into setting timers is to just designate a couple easy cues throughout the course of a typical day: maybe you drink a big glass of water every time you get up to get coffee or tea, at the end of every task, whenever you use the washroom, etc!
6. Make sure hydration is part of your morning and nighttime routines.
This one’s more of a fail-safe if you really struggled to get water in during the day, but at the very least, you know you have a concerted effort to drink water in the morning and in the evenings. The first thing I do when I wake up is to make a hot water with lemon and pink himalayan salt, and in the evening I switch to herbal tea around 9PM and have usually a pot or two. Of course, the goal is to have plenty of water between both these periods, but at least you’ve got hydration front-and-centre both at the beginning and close of the day!
7. Track your hydration.
There are a ton of great water tracking apps, or you can even just make note of it in your Notes section of your phone, in your planner, etc. I’m big on tracking just about everything I do, which sounds a bit odd I’m sure if you’re not used to keeping a journal but for me, it’s critical to my health! I track what I ate, how I exercised and how it felt (key for injury recovery) and how much water I drink. I find I need to do it on the go so I usually just jot down in a Note on my iPhone how much I had in the day just to keep track, starting fresh the next day. Not everyone will need to do this depending on how easy it is for you to work in a solid hydration habit, but if you’re struggling this will help so much, promise! Also, if you’re finding your workout recovery is suffering, if you experience some pattern fatigue or if you’re getting recurrent headaches, tracking can show you where and when you may have unintentionally contributed by not hydrating properly, showing how you can fix it in the future!
Are any of you making hydration a main focus for the new year? Tell me in the comments what’s worked for you before or what you’re struggling with!