Getting people to drink more water is a daily routine for me. It's a challenge for many, but comes with such a high benefit that I feel it's needed.
Water helps with just about every natural process in your body. It lubricates joints, helps digestion, Heck, you're mostly made out of the stuff. A recent study showed that healthy women perform up to 12% worse on mental tasks when just mildly dehydrated, and that performance is reversed quickly with rehydration. Another study from 2013 showed that dehydration decreased cardiac output by 13%, and yet another one noted a performance decrease of up to 30% with 5% dehydration.
So, now that you understand the importance of hydration for both mental and physical tasks, let's get to the strategies that really work.
1. Get Started Early
After my feet hit the floor, the first thing I do is drink 32oz of water. It's cooler than room-temp but not ice cold. I do this before coffee, before anything. It starts my digestive system and gives my joints something to work with. Sound like too much for you? Start with 16, or even just 8oz. Note the difference.
2. Get it in Around Your Workout
Whatever you do, Zumba, CrossFit, Cardio-dance, powerlifting, bodybuilding, yoga, pilates, the shake weight, running, parkour, WHATEVER - drink water before, during and A LOT after. You're using up water while you move. Put it back. The hotter the temp, the more you sweat, the more you need to put back. In Miami Beach I'll lose 5-6 pounds per workout in the summer. Ya gotta put it back!
3. Get Creative
If you don't love water, experiment with flavorings - start with natural things like cucumbers, citrus fruits, herbs or even spices. If that doesn't work for you, try some of those new fandangled flavor drops. I've never tried them, but I've had clients that swear by them. Love Crystal Light? I mean, I guess. I can't stop you - I love straight up water and drink a lot, but if you need help - FLAVOR!
4. Cut it Off!
Because you started early, you'll get to stop early. You don't wanna be up peeing all night, so slow it down later in the day. It's not unusual for me to hit my intake goal by 3pm, then just have a glass or two with dinner, and then maybe a sparkling water later on.
5. Start Slow and Build
You might not be able to get in a gallon or even a half gallon or 3 liters or whatever. That's OK! Get as much as you can, notice the positive effects and then add a little more the next day.