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6 Simple Ways to Drink More Water Every Day

Staying adequately hydrated can help keep your skin clear, your muscles strong, and your body in top shape.

Medically reviewed in March 2022

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You've probably heard you need to drink plenty of water every day, but you may have wondered why. In a nutshell, your body needs water to function, and when you’re dehydrated, your heart has to work harder and faster to pump blood. Water also helps your muscles contract, lubricates your joints, and makes it easier for your brain to process information. 

If you've been drinking less water than your body needs, once you start drinking enough, you’ll likely notice a change in how you feel. You may have more energy, feel more clear-headed, and exercise might even seem easier.

Still not motivated to up your H2O intake? Water can help trim your waistline. People who drink more water consume fewer calories, less fat, sugar and salt, according to a study published in the Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics

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Set tiny goals

If increasing your water intake seems like a tall order, start by setting small, attainable goals like swapping seltzer water for soda, matching every coffee you drink with a cup of water, or committing to a few extra glasses a day. These tricks can also keep you on track:

  • Monitor daily intake with a smart phone app or keep a tally in your daily planner.
  • Play a “drinking game” with yourself by sipping a glass each time you check social media.
  • Challenge your coworkers to see who can reach an an agreed-upon goal (say, eight glasses) before the end of the day. Agree on a prize for the winner, like a free (healthy) vending machine snack.
Woman holding water bottle filled with fruit
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Use visual cues

Invest in a reusable water bottle and leave it somewhere visible, like on your desk, throughout the day. Draw lines on the bottle to mark how much you’ll drink every hour.

These reminders can help, too:

  • Stick a “hydrate” post-it on your computer.
  • Choose an image of a crisp, clear glass of water for your phone homescreen.
  • Fill two large pitchers each morning—one for you and one for your partner or someone who lives with you. Place them in the fridge and keep score of who finishes their pitcher each day.
  • When watching TV, sip every time a commercial comes on.
Senior man drinking from bottle of water
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Don't wait until you're thirsty

Your thirst response gets confused pretty easily and your daily activities, your mood, your overall health, and your age all can affect how accurately it works. Older adults and young children are at especially high risk for dehydration because of weak thirst responses.

If you wait until you feel thirsty to drink, your fluids are probably already depleted. Instead, be proactive by:

  • Having a large glass of water right when you wake up
  • Drinking a glass before meals
  • Setting phone reminders for water breaks on hot days
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Get bonus water from juicy foods

Foods can contain a surprising amount of water. In fact, the average person gets about 20 percent of their fluids from food.

Add more water-rich items to your grocery list:

  • Cucumbers, 96 percent water
  • Zucchini, 95 percent water
  • Tomatoes, 94 percent water
  • Spinach and watermelon, 92 percent water
  • Carrots, 87 percent water

Instead of reaching for a sugary sports drink after your next workout, cool down with some refreshing watermelon or cucumber slices. Eating fresh, whole foods after exercise can help replace the vitamins, natural sugars, and amino acids your cells need to absorb water, which you lose while sweating.

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Make smart replacements

Americans consume about 385 extra calories a day from added sugars, about half of which come from sugary beverages. Cut back on empty calories by making healthy, satisfying choices, like swapping sparkling water for soda. Don’t be afraid to flavor your seltzer with fruit slices, a splash of 100 percent fruit juice, or a sprinkle of fresh herbs like basil and mint.

Make infused water, instead of buying the artificially flavored kind, by crushing and mixing fresh fruits and vegetables into a pitcher of water and let it chill in the fridge. Get creative with fun flavor combinations like raspberry, mango, and lime or strawberry, basil, and lemon.

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Pick the right accessories

When shopping for your reusable water bottle, pick one you’ll be excited to carry around every day. Look for your favorite colors, make sure it fits in your bag, and choose one that’s appropriate for both work and the gym.

At home, opt for large glasses like tumblers instead of small cups to boost your serving sizes and throw in a fun, curly straw.

Pro tip: You can keep track of how well you're hydrating each day by wearing rubber bands or hair ties around your wrist. For each glass of water you drink, remove one band. The remaining bands will remind you to keep up the good work. 

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