Do people drink enough water? For over half of all U.S. adults, the answer is no.
Why do so many people under-consume water?
For some, the issue is a packed schedule that doesn’t leave time for regular water breaks. Others don’t like the taste of plain water and would rather drink soda or coffee instead.
Regardless of your reason, choosing to drink more water offers various health and wellness benefits.
This guide breaks down the benefits of drinking enough water and explains how to build a habit of drinking enough water throughout the day.
How Much Water Should I Drink?
Before we get into the reasons to drink more water, let’s touch on how much you should consume.
According to the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, men should drink around 15.5 cups of fluids per day, and women should consume about 11.5.
The NASEM says that most of your fluids should come from water. However, their recommendations also include fluids from food and other beverages.
Need more guidance or a more straightforward way to measure water intake?
Many health and wellness professionals also recommend drinking half your body weight in ounces per day. If you weigh 140 pounds, that means you should aim for 70 ounces of water.
Benefits of Drinking Enough Water
What happens when you start drinking enough water each day? A lot of great things. Here are some of the most noteworthy benefits of adequate hydration:
Improve Exercise Performance
Whether you cycle or love a good pilates class, drinking more water can improve your performance and help you get more out of your favorite exercise routine.
Losing just two percent of your body’s water content can impact temperature control, increase fatigue, and make workouts feel harder physically and mentally.
Drinking enough water makes pushing yourself and performing better during your workouts easier.
Curb Cravings and Support Weight Loss Goals
Adequate hydration can also help you lose weight by reducing cravings.
If you’re dehydrated, you might notice that you feel a stronger pull toward sugary, high-calorie foods.
This issue happens because, when you’re dehydrated, the body uses stored carbohydrates faster and diminishes your supply. As a result, you crave sugar to replenish those levels.
If you’re constantly craving sugar (and giving in to those cravings), you’ll likely have a more challenging time reaching your weight loss goals.
Boost Energy and Brain Function
The next time afternoon fatigue hits, don’t reach for a cup of coffee or a sugary treat. Grab your water bottle and take a swig instead.
None of these issues sound particularly appealing when you’re trying to finalize an extensive report or plan a meeting with an important client, do they?
Reduce and Prevent Headaches
It’s so frustrating when you have a pounding headache in the middle of the workday (or, worse, at the beginning). Headaches often result from dehydration.
Some research also suggests that increasing water intake can minimize headaches. For example, in a study of 102 men, 47 percent reported headache improvement after drinking an additional 1.4 liters of water per day.
Do you struggle with frequent digestive issues like bloating or constipation? The culprit could be a lack of water.
Proper hydration helps your body break down food and absorb nutrients. It also softens stool and prevents constipation.
Enjoy Clearer Skin
Staying hydrated can also lead to healthier, clearer skin. If you’re dehydrated, research shows that the skin might become drier.
Dry skin can look duller and may be more prone to flakiness. Dry skin can also send the oil glands into overdrive, resulting in more frequent acne breakouts.
Reduce Joint Pain
If you struggle with stiff, achy joints, dehydration might make the problem worse.
The cartilage in the joints and spinal discs is roughly 80 percent water. Long-term dehydration can minimize your joints’ shock-absorbing abilities and exacerbate your aches and pains.
How to Drink More Water
Do any of those benefits sound appealing to you? If so, it’s time to start drinking more water.
These tips can help you achieve your goal:
If you currently only drink two or three cups of water daily, you don’t need to jump immediately to 11.5 or 15. Start small by aiming to drink just one extra cup per day.
Tiny habits like this can add up to significant results over time.
Try Habit Stacking
Habit stacking is another helpful strategy for people struggling with water consumption. Pair drinking water with a habit you’ve already established.
For example, perhaps you can drink a cup of water while you brew your coffee in the morning. Because you already have a habit of brewing coffee, adding water drinking to it is easier than creating a new practice from scratch.
Set Specific Goals
Make your water drinking goal specific.
Don’t just say, “I want to drink more water.” Say, “I want to drink 6 cups of water per day for the next month.” The more specific you are, the easier it is to stick to and achieve your goal.
It’s easy to start your day with the intention of drinking a certain amount of water. When the day gets busier, though, it’s also easy for that goal to fall by the wayside.
To avoid this issue, try setting reminders throughout the day. Regular reminders will help you stay on track and ensure you don’t get to 5 pm and realize you haven’t taken a single drink.
Do people drink enough water? On average, no!
Luckily, you can make the decision today to ensure you’re not part of this group!
The benefits of drinking more water are indisputable, from clearer skin to more energy. If you’re ready to feel better, drinking more water each day is a simple yet effective solution.
Use the tips listed above to establish and stick to a water-drinking habit.
Looking for habit-forming help within your company or organization? Learn more about BetterYou and how we can help improve the health of your population by helping them find more time in their day for wellness.