The easiest ways to stay hydrated

Drink up! Increasing your water intake needn’t be a challenge

As humans, we can go a while without food but we’d struggle to survive for longer than a few days without fluids[1]. In fact, our body is made up of around 60% water[2], so it makes sense that we’d need water to maintain good health and generally stay alive.

The UK’s NHS recommends that we drink six to eight cups or glasses of fluid every day, with water, low-fat milk and sugar-free drinks such as tea, contributing to this fluid intake[3]. Fluid intake does vary though depending on a person’s activity levels, as well as climate and age[4].

But why is water so great?

In a nutshell, water helps to transport nutrients around the body, it helps to get rid of waste, it helps to lubricate the joints and the eyes and it’s vital for many reactions in the body[5].

We lose water every day through sweating and going to the toilet, however, if we don’t stay hydrated by drinking enough water, we risk dehydration. Even mild dehydration can be the driving force behind fatigue, headaches and a lack of focus and concentration[6].

Think you should be drinking more water? Give these H2O tips a go for an easy way to help your hydration…

Keep a bottle with you

If you’re out and about, it might not even cross your mind to drink water. In fact, you may end up going several hours without even taking a sip. But, carrying a water bottle with you doesn’t just mean you have water available at all times, it also acts as a reminder to take a sip of water. Plus, nowadays there’s a whole array of different water bottles, many with quirky features such as water-purification systems[7], carry straps[8] and even sensors that track how often you drink[9].

Set a timer

If you’re someone who often forgets to drink water for several hours, and find that you need reminding, then it can be useful to set reminders on your phone. These could be little alerts at the top of every hour, which will prompt you to get up and grab a glass of water. Other ways to remind yourself include placing post-it notes in areas where your gaze lies, such as on the edge of a computer screen, or at eye level on the fridge door.

Flavour your water

Research has found that 52% of people find drinking water pretty boring[10], so why not add some flavour to your H2O? Research has found that those who classed themselves as ‘reluctant drinkers’, actually drank 159% more water when flavour was added[11]. Lemon, orange and grapefruit slices can help to jazz up plain water, whilst other options include cucumber slices, berries and even apple slices.

Associate water with times of the day

There’s research to show that around half of the things we do day-to-day are all down to the act of repetition[12]; essentially, these are habits. There’s various different studies behind habit formation and the amount of time it typically takes to create a habit; however when something is performed frequently, and consistently, this is when it soon becomes a habit. Try drinking a glass of water before every meal or drink a glass upon waking every day. You may need to set reminders at first, but in time, these will become habitual, helping to increase your water intake, with little effort.

Eat high water foods

Water can be found in most foods.

However, the foods that contain the highest water content are fruits and vegetables, such as cucumber, which is made up of 96% water[13. Tomatoes are also high, being made up of around 95% water whilst mushrooms – perhaps surprisingly, are around 92% water[14].

These foods don’t just provide fluid for the body, but various vitamins and minerals too[15], as well as fibre, which is essential for a healthy digestive system[16].

Why not try adding cucumber to salads, whip up a tomato-based sauce, or throw sliced mushrooms into a stir fry for a hydration boost!?