We’ve probably all heard that cringe-worthy joke… “If you like water, then you already like 60% of me”… cue the eye roll!
So it’s probably safe to say that we are pretty clued up on how vital hydration is for the human body!
But in case we need a gentle reminder… drinking enough water each day is crucial for many reasons, from regulating body temperature, to keeping the joints and eyes lubricated… and from delivering nutrients to cells, to keeping organs functioning properly. Being well-hydrated also improves sleep quality, cognition, and mood. Not to mention the importance of water during exercise, and the risks of being short of the clear stuff. Did you know that dehydration increases cardiovascular strain, thermal strain, glycogen utilisation (and in turn, depleting valuable stores in the body), muscle lactate production (which contributes to muscle fatigue) and the perceived rate of exertion? Pretty grim stuff!
So we get the idea: drink more water!
But… sometimes getting in the habit of hydrating ourselves ends up being trickier than anticipated, when our busy lives get in the way. So, especially with warmer weather just around the corner, what tips, tricks and hacks can we adopt to help increase our water intake, when simply ‘trying to remember’ isn’t working?
1. Attach that Habit
…to another habit. Some of your routines will be so ingrained that you don’t even need to remember to do them anymore. For example: brushing your teeth. Have a glass of water before you brush your teeth each morning. Or the big one… going to the loo! When you have a wee, stop off via the kitchen on the way back to your desk (or wherever it is you’re headed!) and grab yourself a glass of water. This one is such a no brainer as you are literally topping yourself back up with water… not to mention the fact you’re already out of your seat. And of course… the more you drink, the more often you’ll go to the loo, so it’s pretty much a self-fulfilling prophecy in the making!
2. Bored of water? Infuse it!
It might be tempting to quench the thirst with juice or a fizzy pop, but there’s a much lower-sugar alternative to jazzing up your glass of H20, and that’s to infuse it with a natural flavour. Yes it won’t have the mega (albeit artificial) flavour punch that a grape Fanta might give you, but that subtle hint of flavour might be all you need to prompt you to hydrate better. Here are a few flavours we love, which you can simply create by adding a slice of the fruit or veg (or a handful in the case of the berries) and / or a sprig or two of herbs….
– Grapefruit and Basil
– Cucumber & Raspberry
– Blood Orange
– Lemon & Mint
3. Make friends with a snazzy water bottle
…or better still, multiple bottles. Don’t let “I couldn’t find my bottle” become an excuse, so buy yourself three! One can be with you whilst travelling (in your bag, or car for example), one can be with you at work (next to your computer perhaps) and a third can be spare for when you’re putting one through the dishwasher. As soon as one is empty, even if you’ve just guzzled the lot and definitely are’t thirsty anymore – fill it back up. That way it’s ready to grab the moment you’d like a sip. Always have them on the go – and pretty soon, you won’t do without them.
4. Measure / track your intake
…and make a bit of a game of it! Measured water bottles can help with this (which give targets for the hour / chunks of the day) or you could tally the number of cups you drink in a day, and set yourself aims. If you still really struggle with this concept, consider setting yourself a little alarm to ding every couple of hours to remind you to fill that glass up! Once you’re in the habit, it’ll become automatic.
5. Fancy a hot drink?
Ever have that feeling where you just fancy a hot drink, but it doesn’t even really matter what? Maybe it’s the sweetness you’re craving, or just something to do? Try a herbal or fruity tea – perfect for late afternoons and cosy evenings when you might want to avoid caffeine, but still crave that comforting mug of warmth!
6. The Waiting Game
Have a drink whenever you’re waiting for something. For your prepped lunch to be microwaved. For the kettle to boil for your coffee. For the gym class to start. We can make having a sip of water your go-to absent minded habit… instead of reaching for your phone and scrolling perhaps..!
So there you have it: a handful of ways to help you up your hydration-game, to not only help your performance in the gym, but to look after your body in a whole range of ways. Try out some of these tips and let us know how you get on!
In need of a bit more support?
Come along to our free Nutrition Seminar at SCFIT Central next Thursday! Designed to give you an overview of the basics (including sleep, and of course hydration!) and how to turn healthy choices into habits for the long term. The seminar is available to existing members of SCFIT and non-members alike, so anyone is welcome!
Sources: Harvard School of Public Health, British Nutrition Foundation