In the wintertime, it can be hard to remember to drink up, but hydration is just as important this time of year as any! Helping thirsty cells do their job can help keep us focused and energized despite limited daylight, and since water helps keep digestion going, this supports proper immune system function and may also help manage the winter blahs, as production of mood-regulating serotonin happens in the gut.
As a dietitian, I know I can stand here all damn day and tell you that drinking water is good for you, but maybe you’d be, like, “Okay, that’s awesome, Jess. Whatever.” The reality is that we’re all busy, and sometimes that “8 glasses a day” business can seem arbitrary and confusing. Where does that number even come from? How the heck do I get myself to drink that much water, anyway? What if I hate water?
Fret not. Today I have some tips to help you hit your water target.
How much water do you need?
The short, boring answer is that everybody’s needs will vary depending on body size, age, activity level, and other factors like diet, medication, and the like. In the hospital, for example, we usually base fluid needs based on milliliters per kilogram.
Working with that in mind, your average, healthy adult would generally require about 30-35 ml/ kg. So for a 70 Kg (154-pound) person, the calculations for that range would look like this:
(70 kg x 30 ml) – (70 kg x 35 ml) = > 2100 ml – 2450 ml fluid per day
Since there are about 30 milliliters in 1 fluid ounce, that would be 70- 82 fluid ounces per day, or 8.75 – 10.25 8-ounce cups. Keep in mind that this takes in to account basic needs for all fluids, so this amount includes other beverages besides water, as well as soup, water present in fruits and veggies, and other sources of fluid.
If you work out or eat or drink a lot of foods or drinks with diuretic properties (hello, coffee!) you may need more water.
6 tips to help you hit your water target
–Drink up to wake up. First thing when you get out of bed chug a glass of water. It’ll help your body ease into the morning and ease digestion.
–Make it convenient. Having a refillable water bottle or cup within easy reach makes drinking water a no-brainer. Remembering to refill said refillable container is also key.
–Make it interesting. Hate plain water? No problem! Try sparkling water or add lemon, lime, or cucumber slices to your water. You can also infuse with fresh fruit and herbs and strain out. Voila—instant fancy, flavored water without all the added chemicals or extra cost.
–Set reminders. If visual cues aren’t enough (or realistic for your home or workspace), set alerts on your phone, fitness tracker, or watch to remind you to drink up throughout the day.
–One and done. Start your morning with a large bottle (think 1 liter) full of water and make sure it’s gone by the end of the day. Combined with the other stuff you might be drinking in food and beverage form, it will help you hit your mark.
–Make it a habit. Have one glass of water with each meal and one between each meal.
If you’re worried about having to pee a lot, look at it as an excuse to get up out of your chair more often, another thing a lot of us are trying to remember to do more often.