I know what you’re thinking… Am I seriously sitting here reading a post about drinking water?

YES! Yes, you are!

And the reason you’re doing it is because most of us are not very good about being well hydrated. For something that is absolutely essential to life, many people are terrible at drinking enough water.

Hydration is important because it affects our bodies on an elemental, cellular level. Our bodies are mostly water! And the proper balance we keep between water, electrolytes, and nutrients determines how efficiently and effectively our bodily systems function. Everything from our nerves to our muscles relies on the body being well hydrated. And for women 40+, staying well hydrated is essential to combat the drying out our bodies experience due to lowering estrogen.

The American Heart Association says “keeping the body hydrated helps the heart more easily pump blood through the blood vessels and to the muscles to help the muscles work more efficiently.” Being well hydrated allows the heart to work without so much effort and your body to function optimally.

Knowing that hydration is important and doing something about it are two separate things. If you need some ideas for how to up your water intake, here are my top tips:

Four Ways to Improve Hydration

1. Drink Water BEFORE Meals

This tip has two different effects, both of them really great for balancing your body. The first is that you are guaranteeing yourself to have 24-32 ounces consumed over the three meals per day. If you can drink water before meals you’re also going to eat less at those meals. Water takes up space in your stomach. Your brain gets the I’M FULL signal sooner than it would on an empty stomach.

Drinking water before meals is also a great way not only to increase your hydration but also to regulate and slightly suppress your appetite.

2. Create a CUE to take a Water Bottle with you

Get into the habit of setting the water bottle next to your keys or purse.

Too overwhelming? Feel like if you were that organized you’d already be doing it?

Put something on your key chain…allow that to be the cue to remind you to grab a water bottle before you leave the house.

If you have a water bottle with you, you’ll drink it!

3. Take a water bottle inventory

If you’re anything like me, you have 47 freebie water bottles clogging up your cupboards. Even so, there are really only one or two that you like and that you reach for on a regular basis.

If you figure out which types of water bottles you like, those will be the ones you want to use. Make sure you have at least two of those water bottles so that you eliminate the excuse that your favorite water bottle is dirty.

(You’re also allowed to get rid of the ones you don’t ever use. Permission granted!)

4. Shift your MINDSET— Water First

All other drinks are treats, and you get them as a reward.

I know this sounds scary to those of you who are coffee drinkers. Maybe we need to make a tiny exception for you to allow you your one cup of coffee in the morning first thing, so you don’t go crazy on all the people you love first thing every day.

However, all other types of drink…juices, sodas, cocktails, wine…WATER FIRST.

After you’ve had all of the water your body needs in a day, then you can have a ‘treat drink’.

No drinks-with-calories is another way to increase your hydration as well as reduce your caloric intake.

Which one of those four ways to improve your hydration will work best for you?

Water in a glass