10 Ways Your Body Changes When You're Drinking Enough Water
While it may take weeks or months to notice a substantial difference from certain wellness changes — say, lifting weights and gaining muscle, or eating more healthy fats and scoring softer skin — drinking water can make an impact in a matter of minutes.
"You may feel a difference within minutes of drinking water," explains Mary Stewart, R.D., L.D., the founder of Cultivate Nutrition in Dallas. "In fact, one study found that participants experienced an increase in caloric burn 24 minutes after drinking water."
But that's not the only way your body will benefit from being well hydrated. Read on for some unexpected wins you'll score by way of drinking enough water each day, then soak up some pro tips to make it easier to drink more.
The Benefits of Drinking Enough Water
"Adequate hydration will significantly improve your health and well-being because it is essential for all processes in the body," says Laura Burak, R.D., owner of Laura Burak Nutrition in Roslyn, N.Y. and the author of Slim Down With Smoothies.
What defines "adequate," exactly?
The general rule is :8 by 8," adds Dr. Irvin Sulapas, M.D., a primary care sports medicine physician at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston. Or to put it another way, eight 8-ounce glasses of water per day.
"This adds up to almost two liters of water; however the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine recommends intake of about 3.7 liters of fluid for men and 2.7 liters of fluid for women, and for that, you get additional water sources from food and other beverages," Sulapas says.
Another rough guide is to divide your weight in pounds by half, then drink that many ounces of water, Burak says. (So if you're 180 pounds, aim to drink 90 ounces of water daily.)
If you drink this much, you'll likely notice many or all of these benefits, according to Sualapas, Burak, and Stewart. The signs you're drinking enough water include:
- You'll urinate more.
- You'll feel less hungry and may even lose weight.
- You'll probably experience more comfortable digestion (less heartburn).
- Bowel movements might be easier and more regular.
- Your teeth and gums will be healthier and more resilient.
- Your skin will be more supple and moisturized.
- You might feel more energetic.
- You'll likely notice clearer skin.
- It might become easier to focus.
- Your workouts will probably get stronger.
Expert-Approved Tricks to Drink More Water
These benefits of drinking enough water sound great, right? Yet, nearly four out of five American adults currently drink fewer than eight glasses per day, according to data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). And seven percent of adults admit to drinking zero plain water on most days.
"As with any habit change, don't expect to go from zero to 60 — in this case, ounces — in a few days. Start slow and gradually increase so that you consistently incorporate adequate hydration into your everyday life. Drinking more water, just like any habit you create with time, will go from struggle to second nature with time," Burak says.
Here are five pro tips to build on your hydration habits:
- Invest in a 32-ounce or larger water bottle (we love this CamelBak Eddy Vacuum Stainless Insulated Water Bottle) with a straw to make it easier to sip throughout the day. Aim to fill and drain — by drinking, of course — twice per day.
- Fill this water bottle at night, then place it somewhere you can't forget to grab it the next morning. Think: your nightstand, the bathroom next to your toothbrush or by the coffee maker.
- "Habit stack" by drinking water in partnership with other things you already do. For example, commit to drinking two eight-ounce glasses or half of that 32-ounce water bottle before your first cup of coffee or after brushing your teeth in the morning.
- Drink at least one eight-ounce glass of water with each meal and during every 15 minutes or so of exercise.
- If you're bored by basic H2O, infuse your water with fruits, veggies, herbs, or teas (such as Harney & Sons Hot Cinnamon Sunset Black Tea).
Related: Discover 16 more simple ways to drink more water all day long.