Eating more greens, regular dentist appointments, washing behind the ears, pap tests, stretching—these are just a few of the things in life that we should do more of in order to achieve better overall health, but don’t necessarily want to do.
For some, drinking enough water is on the list as well. Yes, there are two types of people when it comes to water consumption: those who like the taste and have no problem staying hydrated and those who consider it a chore, an obligation and generally, a pain in the rear end. Does the latter sound familiar? Don’t worry, you’re not alone. Research shows nearly 75 percent of American’s function in a chronic state of dehydration.
This statistic only gets worse in the summer months. We’re hotter, sweatier and busier during the summer, which means hydration is more important than ever, but we’re less likely to make it a priority. We’ve all heard the benefits of consuming more H20: increased energy, improved cognitive function, better digestion, easier weight management and smoother skin, among many others. But being aware of the advantages isn’t the issue; we know it’s good for us but the process is often seen as an inconvenience. The key is finding easy ways to trick yourself into sufficient hydration.
Here are five simple ways to up your water intake this summer.
Set a Reminder
Conference calls, wake up calls, deadlines, anniversaries, appointments…What’s the first thing you do when you have to remember something important? You set an alarm. Why should water be any different? Now, there doesn’t need to be an obnoxious bell ringing in your ears every hour, on the hour, but simply having a reminder pop up on your desktop or mobile device with the word “drink” a few times a day is all it takes to help get a few extra gulps in. A few more sips every so often will make a difference.
Make it a Habit
Another way to make drinking more, easier, is to make it a habit. Meaning, incorporate consumption into the rhythm of your daily life—making it an instinct as opposed to a chore. At the office, for example, make a habit of passing by the water cooler every time you have to walk to the printer. Or, every time you pick up your desk phone, grab a couple of mouthfuls. As for hydrating during a workout: make drinking into its own exercise: squats, lunges, push-ups, plank, WATER! This way it’s built into the plan and not an afterthought.
Make it Delicious
Who said beverages have to be bland and boring to be healthy? While it’s not recommended you hydrate with anything that includes the word “cola” in it, there are a lot of ways to make water a little more exciting. Like, what about iced-tea? Not withstanding the kind you buy at the convenience store, herbal tea is a great way to add some flavor to your water. Simply steep the herbal tea of your choice, (I enjoy chamomile or peppermint) add a spoonful of something sweet (think: honey or agave syrup) and let it sit in the fridge overnight. Voila, refreshing, delicious and effective.
Similarly, adding any kind of fruit, vegetable or herb is enough to infuse some life into your glass. From cucumber slices to berries, lemon and even mint leaves, don’t be afraid to throw some of your favorite flavors into the mix and enjoy.
Make it Attractive
A recent study out of Cornell finds that when we make the healthy option the more attractive choice, we’re more likely to do the right thing. For instance, if we want to eat more fruit, research shows if we put the fruit in a more visually appealing bowl, we’re more likely to go for it. According to these findings, the key to drinking more could rest in the way it’s presented. So, instead of using that old, scratched plastic cup, invest in a fun, trendy water bottle and keep it close by.
If you’re still struggling to identify with any of these suggestions to up your fluid intake there’s still hope. Yes, rest assured that we also get ample water from the foods we eat. In fact, the average person gets 20 percent of their daily hydration from solids. So the trick is eating more H20-dense meals. It’s no surprise that the foods with the highest levels of hydration are fruits and vegetables like tomatoes, watermelon, carrots and cucumbers, to name a few. But, you don’t need to have a plate of raw veggies to get the benefits. Try adding veggie or fruit based sauces, salsas or soups to any meal. As for non-veg options, oatmeal packs a hydrating punch, containing a whopping 84 percent water content, as does yogurt, weighing in at 79 percent.