After following our 30-day hydration challenge, you may find a happier, healthier, and more attractive you at the other end.
Bodies love water — crave it, even — which makes sense since we humans are 70 percent H2O! But aside from the obvious benefit of keeping up feeling hydrated, studies also reveal that proper hydration may help you lose weight, look better and even fight cancer.
Despite the proven benefits of drinking enough water, downing enough each day can feel like a torturous chore. For many people, drinking water is considered a monotonous task, the water itself being considered boring. To others, their taste buds construe water as the liquid equivalent of over-cooked kale. Yuck!
But all hope is not lost for the water-averse. Many people who commit to a 30-day hydration challenge discover that nature’s cocktail is a miracle serum that improves their lives in dramatically positive ways.
To help out, we’ve crafted a month-long, step-by-step routine to incorporate more water into your diet. Follow it, and on day 31, you may feel 300 percent better than you do right now. So, grab a glass or a water bottle, and let’s get hydrating!
The Hydration Challenge Goal
How much will we be drinking? The goal of this hydration challenge is to consume the equivalent of eight, eight-ounce glasses of water a day, for a total of 64 ounces per day. Technically, according to standard recommendations, men should consume 101 ounces daily and women at least 74. Due to the fact that we also ingest water in other ways through our dietary food choices, eight glasses is a good target.
For individuals aged 45 and older, be sure to pay extra attention to water consumption and aim to meet the recommended daily allowances. The older we get, the more our bodies benefit from proper hydration, and seniors are at the greatest risk of having serious health complications as a result of dehydration.
Before you start dreading the bland flavor of water, rest assured, you don’t have to drink tasteless water all day long. Feel free to pick up a squirt flavor from the supermarket juice aisle, or add a couple dashes of lemon or lime juice to your water, or use a soda stream with ice tea or lemonade drops for a tasty and bubbly hydration option. These added flavors are usually only a few calories, if any, and can transform the experience! If you’re looking to avoid the artificial flavoring additives but still want to have some good flavors, look into infusing your water with fresh herbs, slices of fresh fruit and berries, or small slices of fresh vegetables such as cucumber slices or celery sticks.
Day One: Just One Glass
The path to success starts with small goals. In fact, it has been found that setting achievable benchmarks and meeting them provides a small dopamine rush that encourages you to keep going. So, on day one of the hydration challenge, if this is a new endeavor for you, vow to drink one glass of water. That’s it.
If drinking water is a regular practice, but you’re looking to up your intake, strive to drink 2-3 glasses of water depending on what your normal intake is. Shoot for a small intake to set a baseline of water consumption that you can build upon from this point out. You can do it!
Day Two: Add Another
You’ve conquered day one of the hydration challenge! Congrats! Now, on day two, it’s time to add another glass. Two water drinks are better than zero! So, pat yourself on the back and drink up.
For those who started day one with 2 or 3 glasses of water, today you are going to stick with that consumption amount to get use to this amount of water.
Day Three: And Another
It’s day three, which means it’s time to build our hydration intake up to three glasses of water. You can easily get them in with food reminders by having one glass of water with each meal.
Look at you! Believe it or not, at this simple step of three water helpings in a day, you’re doing better than half the country. Congratulations on your success but don’t stop now, tomorrow is a new day of success!
Day Four and Five: Introduce the Water Bottle
Now that you’re up to three glasses a day, it’s time to slip a water bottle into the routine. By keeping it close and sipping on it throughout the day, you’ll consume another one to three glasses depending on the size. However, sticking to the gradual increase method is best. So, max out at two water bottle glasses a day.
On days four and five, get into the habit of becoming one with your water bottle. Keep it at arm’s length, and remember to take a sip at least every fifteen minutes. If you need help remembering to sip, use a digital clock or reminder app. You can also set your daily activities as a reminder, if you tend to get up from your desk at work every half hour, or spend time walking around your house doing activities, make it a point to drink a couple sips each time you enter the room, or stand up to stretch.
With the extra hydration, you’ll probably start to notice you need to run to the bathroom more than usual as the body adjusts to its new, healthy hydrated state.
Day Six and Seven: We’re Up to Four or More
Look at you on day six and seven! By now, you should be drinking between four and six glasses of water daily depending on your water bottle size and sipping habits, and it’s time to add another. The best way to squeeze in this additional glass is by adding one more round to the water bottle.
Believe it or not, by the end of week one, if you’ve stuck with these hydration increases you may notice you’re starting to feel a tad more clear-headed and even enjoying a bit more energy throughout the day.
Days Eight through Fourteen: Holy Moly You Made it to Six Glasses!
It’s day eight, the start of a new week: time to add yet another eight ounces of water to your daily intake. Most people choose to add this sixth glass of water either mid-morning or mid-afternoon. If you’re already up to six glasses, simply maintain your intake at this level for the day.
Congratulations, with six glasses of water, you are currently at 48 ounces of water! With your increased water intake, you may find that you aren’t as hungry throughout the day and with less snacking throughout the day you may start to feel lighter and less bloated. It’s time to keep this level of intake up and get use to the new habit. Stick with six glasses of water every day this week.
While the goal for this challenge is to build up to eight glasses of water per day, believe it or not, achieving a continuous six glasses of water per day is a great foundation for better health and if six glasses is where you find yourself maxing out, you can be proud of the hydration achievement.
Days Fifteen through Twenty-One: Seven Glasses for Seven Days
You’re in the home stretch and your body is now use to drinking six glasses of water per day. By this point, the taste of sugary soda water may even make you gag or not be a beverage craving like it once was. You may find that your energy levels are increased and your skin is likely glowing. You’re feeling so great it won’t be a big deal when you add one more round of the water bottle or add a glass of water to your morning wake-up routine.
Practically speaking, if you haven’t added a glass of water to your morning routine yet, now is a good time to start. Drinking water first thing in the morning can help rehydrate your body from the six to eight hours of recommended nightly sleep that you went without any water consumption. If you’ve already got the morning rehydration into your routine and you decide to increase your water bottle usage to achieve this extra glass of water it means picking up your sip pace throughout the day.
Days Twenty-Two through Thirty: The Days of Eight
Look at you, you hydration superstar! You’ve made it to seven glasses of water a day — one of the healthiest habits a human can have. Now, you just need to ingest one more, and you’ve made it to eight! Be sure to celebrate your accomplishment as you’ve changed your life for the better and the positive ripple effects await.
Hydration is a salubrious gift with which you can reward yourself and it barely costs a cent. So, go ahead, have a drink! You deserve to feel fabulous! For the rest of the 30-day challenge practice sticking with eight glasses of water a day.
While the 8 glasses of water a day rule is a handy guideline, some people might need more, or even less. So how do you know if you need more water for full hydration? Check your urine.
“When we talk about hydration, we have to talk about pee,” says Jen Bruning, MS, RDN, spokeswoman for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. “The best measure to know if you’re adequately hydrated is to look in the toilet.” If urine color is transparent yellow or pale, congratulations, you have reached a good hydration level. If it’s a brighter yellow or amber color, however, you should probably be adding another one to three glasses of water into your daily intake routine.
6 Benefits of Drinking 6+ Glasses of Water a Day
- Enjoy a Better Workout – Muscles need a good balance of electrolytes to function properly. Without proper hydration, electrolytes can’t exchange as easily and the muscles can be more prone to cramping. Proper hydration allows the muscles to withstand more vigorous workouts. In addition, you may find yourself sweating more during physical activity, which is actually a good thing as it indicates that your body is hydrated enough to maintain a normal temperature.
- Improved Kidney Function – The kidneys flush waste from the body in the form of liquids, and to do that, they need sufficient. The more hydrated you are, the easier this function is for them. Without proper hydration and regular bathroom visits, minerals can build up and can form and cause kidney stones.
- Natural Energy Boost – Many people don’t realize that one of the most noticeable benefits of drinking enough water is that it helps improve your energy levels.
- Glowing Skin – While you may not look 20 years younger, drinking enough water, will help your skin look more lustrous and plump, and help erase the fine lines that form when you’re dehydrated.
- Regular Bowel Movements – Every cell in your body requires water, and if your body is lacking hydration, you may find it harder to pass a stool. “When your body needs to have more water in a certain area, it will take out of less essential areas—and that means it will take away from your digestive system,” Bruning says.
- Strengthened Immune System – Believe it or not, proper hydration can help you heal and recover faster when you’re sick. There’s a reason your doctor tells you to drink more fluids when you’re coming down with something. When your body needs to rely on the immune system for support your cells need fluids to keep up with the demand.