If you’re like most people, you don’t drink enough water. In fact, according to the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (an organization that promotes water safety), 89% of adults in the UK don’t drink the recommended eight glasses of water a day. In other reports, 17% of people admit to not drinking any water during the average day. But staying properly hydrated is crucial for your health. Water helps to regulate your body temperature, lubricate your joints, and protect your organs. It’s also necessary for proper digestion, absorption, and transportation of nutrients (5). Consequently, not drinking enough water is linked to a number of health problems, such as fatigue, headaches, and constipation (3). So how can you make sure you’re drinking enough water? One easy way is to try a hydration challenge. For one week, commit to drinking a certain amount of water each day. Start with something achievable, like 64 ounces (eight cups), and work your way up from there, according to your individual needs. Be sure to drink water throughout the day, rather than all at once. And don’t forget to account for other sources of fluid, like coffee, tea, and fruits and vegetables. If you’re not used to drinking a lot of water, you may find it hard to meet your goal at first. Read on for tips on how to make it easier.
What Is The 7-Day Hydration Challenge?
The 7-Day Hydration Challenge is a great way to kick-start your journey to better hydration. For one week you will consciously make an effort to drink more water throughout the day.
You’ll also get more information about the benefits of proper hydration and how much water you should be drinking each day. While the most profound changes in your health will need more than 7 days to show, you’ll be surprised at how much better you feel by the end of the week!
How Do You Do The Water Drinking Challenge?
On each day of the week, follow these instructions:
Day 1: Determine How Much Water You Should Be Drinking
The first step is to find out how much water you should be drinking each day. Depending on your weight, age, sex, activity level, and environment you may need to drink more or less water than the average person. The average recommended amount is 8 glasses per day, but this may not be enough for some.
There are many ways to determine how much water you should be drinking. You can use an online calculator, such as the one from the National Institutes of Health, or go by these estimates:
- Adult men: 2 liters a day (67 ounces)
- Adult women: 1.6 liters a day (54 ounces)
You can also take your weight in kilograms and multiply by 30-35 to get a range in milliliters of your baseline needs.
If you exercise, you’ll increase the amount above by 4-8 ounces for every 20 minutes of exercise. So for example, if you workout for 40 minutes, you’ll need to drink an extra 8-16 ounces of water. If you live in a hot or dry climate, or it’s a particularly hot day or time of year, you’ll need to add some extra for that as well. Talk to your doctor or a registered dietitian about what factors may be affecting your individual fluid needs and how to monitor your hydration status.
Day 2: Start Tracking Your Water Intake
The second day of the challenge is all about starting to track your water intake. This will help you become more aware of how much water you’re actually drinking and whether or not you need to make any changes.
There are a few different ways that you can track your water intake:
- Download an app: There are many different water tracking apps available. Not only do they make it easy to track your water intake, but some also offer other features like reminders and graphs that show your progress.
- Use a paper journal: If you prefer to not use your phone or another electronic device, you can use a notebook to track your intake. Simply write down how much water you drink at each meal and snack time, and also whenever you feel thirsty.
- Drink from a marked, refillable water bottle: This method is great if you have trouble remembering to track your intake. Simply fill up your water bottle at the beginning of the day, and make sure to finish it by the end of the day, refilling as many times as you need to meet your fluid goal. Set your own time limit, such as 8 hours, 10 hours, or 12 hours.
Day 3: Drink Water First Thing In The Morning
On the third day of the challenge, your goal is to drink water first thing in the morning. This will help jump start your hydration for the day and get you in the habit of starting your day with a glass of water.
If you’re not used to drinking water first thing in the morning, start slow by having just a few sips. You can also try adding some lemon or lime juice to your water to make it more palatable. Over time, you can increase the amount that you drink until you’re up to a full glass.
Day 4: Ditch The High-Calorie, Sugar-Filled Drinks
On day four of the challenge, your goal is to ditch all high-calorie, sugary drinks.This includes soda, sweetened tea or coffee, sports drinks, and fruit juice. These beverages are not only high in calories, but they can also cause dehydration because they sometimes contain mild diuretics.
It’s crucial to differentiate between healthy and unhealthy calorie-containing beverages. For example, milk and 100% fruit juice are high in calories but they’re also a good source of hydration. On the other hand, soda and energy drinks are high in calories but low in nutritional value.
To make this challenge easier, try weaning yourself off of sugary drinks gradually. For example, if you typically drink 2 sodas per day, replace one of them with water for a week. Then replace the second soda with water the following week.
Below are some ingenious swaps for sugary drinks that you can try:
- Soda: sparkling water + fruit juice or soda water + unsweetened flavored syrup
- Sweetened tea or coffee: unsweetened tea or coffee + stevia or other non-nutritive sweetener
- Sports drink: coconut water + pinch of salt or oral rehydration solution
- Fruit juice: sparkling water + fruit juice or 100% fruit juice + club soda
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Day 5: Eat More Water-Rich Foods
On the fifth day of the challenge, your goal is to eat more water-rich foods. This includes fruits and vegetables that are high in water content, as well as cooked grains and soups (1).These foods will help you reach your daily water intake goals, and they’re also packed with other essential nutrients.
Some of the best water-rich foods include:
- Watermelon: This juicy fruit is over 92% water. It’s also a good source of vitamins A and C.
- Cucumber: Cucumbers are 96% water. They’re also a good source of fiber, vitamins K and B6.
- Tomatoes: Tomatoes are about 95% water. They’re also an excellent source of lycopene, which is a powerful antioxidant.
- Lettuce: Lettuce is about 95% water. It’s a good source of vitamins A, K and C. It also contains folate, which is important for pregnant women.
- Celery: Celery is over 95% water. It’s also a good source of fiber and vitamins K and B6.
- Bell peppers: Bell peppers are about 94% water. They’re also an excellent source of vitamins A and C not to mention how flavorful they are.
- Strawberries: Strawberries are about 91% water. They’re also a good source of fiber, vitamin C and manganese.
- Cooked grains: Cooked grains like rice and quinoa are about 70% water, which they absorb during cooking. They’re also a good source of complex carbohydrates and fiber.
- Soups: Soup is a great way to increase your water intake. Many soups are over 90% water, and they’re also a good source of vitamins and minerals. Choose broth-based soups like vegetable soup, chicken noodle soup, and miso soup instead of cream-based soups.
Day 6: Drink Water Before, During, And After Exercise
On the sixth day of the challenge, your goal is to drink water before, during, and after exercise. This will help ensure that you’re properly hydrated during your workout, and it will also help you recover afterwards.
Before exercise, try to drink 17-20 ounces of water. This will help ensure that you’re properly hydrated and that your body has enough water to cool itself during exercise.
During vigorous exercise, you should drink 7-10 ounces of water every 10-20 minutes. This will help replace the fluid that you’re losing through sweat.
After exercise, try to drink 16-24 ounces of water. This will help your body rehydrate and replace the fluid that you’ve lost through sweat. After exercise, you may also want to replenish electrolytes by drinking coconut water or eating foods that are high in electrolytes, such as bananas, sweet potatoes, and dark leafy greens (4).
Day 7: Drink Water Before Every Meal
On the seventh day of the challenge, your goal is to drink 16-24 ounces of water before every meal. This will help you reach your daily water intake goals and it may also help you eat less.
If you’re not used to drinking that much water, set an alarm on your phone or keep a water bottle with you at all times to help you remember to drink up. Start with small sips and work your way up to larger gulps.
Drinking water before meals is a simple and effective way to lose weight. In fact, one study showed that people who drank about 19 ounces of water before meals ate less than those who didn’t drink any water at all (6). If made into a habit, this might help a person lose weight over time.
Tips For Sticking To The Challenge
The key to success with any challenge is consistency. Here are a few tips to help you stick to the 7-Day Hydration Challenge:
- Set a daily water intake goal and track your progress. Use a water tracker app or simply write down how much water you’re drinking each day in a journal.
- Make water more accessible by keeping a water bottle with you at all times. Fill it up before you leave the house and make sure to drink from it regularly throughout the day.
- Add flavor to your water with fruit, herbs, or cucumber slices. This will make it more enjoyable to drink and will also give you a small dose of electrolytes and antioxidants.
- Drink a glass of water first thing in the morning and before every meal. This will help you reach your daily water intake goals and will also help you eat less.
- Make sure to drink plenty of water before, during, and after exercise. This will help ensure that you’re properly hydrated and will also help you recover afterwards.
- Drink water instead of sugary drinks like soda, juice, and alcohol. This will help you cut calories and reach your weight loss goals.
- If you’re struggling to drink enough water, talk to your doctor or a registered dietitian. They can help you come up with a hydration plan that’s tailored to your individual needs.
The Benefits Of Drinking Water
Drinking plenty of water has numerous health benefits.
Support Detoxification Processes
Your body has several organs involved in detoxification including your skin, liver, and kidneys. Drinking water helps these organs function properly and eliminates toxins through sweat and urine (2).
Helps With Weight Loss
Water can help you lose weight in a few different ways. First, it can help you feel fuller so you eat less. Second, it might help boost your metabolism. Finally, it can replace sugary drinks that are high in calories (6).
Improves Physical Performance
Water is essential for proper muscle function. When you’re properly hydrated, your muscles can work at their peak level of performance. Dehydration can lead to fatigue, cramping, and decreased endurance (2).
Aids In Digestion
Water helps the digestive system break down food and absorb nutrients. It also helps to soften stool and prevents constipation (2).
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Water is essential for a strong immune system. As part of your blood it helps carry nutrients and oxygen to your cells and flushes toxins out of your body. Drinking plenty of water may help reduce the risk of several illnesses, including kidney stones and UTIs (5).
Promotes Healthy Skin
Water helps to keep your skin hydrated and looking its best. It can also help reduce the appearance of wrinkles (2).
Improves Brain Function
Water is essential for proper brain function. The neurotransmitters that send messages between cells need water to function properly. Plus, being properly hydrated prevents fatigue, irritability, and difficulty concentrating (5).
The Bottom Line
Drinking enough water is essential for good health. The 7-Day Hydration Challenge is a great way to make sure that you’re drinking enough water every day. By following the tips in this article, you’ll be well on your way to hydration success.
This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!
- 10 water-rich foods to help you stay hydrated (2021, bupa.co.uk)
- Are There Any Health Benefits to Drinking a Gallon of Water a Day? (2021, clevelandclinic.org)
- Public knowledge of dehydration and fluid intake practices: variation by participants’ characteristics (2018, nih.gov)
- Water and Electrolytes (2011, nih.gov)
- Water, Hydration and Health (2011, nih.gov)
- Yes, drinking more water may help you lose weight (2020, hub.jhu.edu)