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How to drink more water: 10 tips to help you stay hydrated

You might be looking at that headline and thinking, What do you mean, "How to drink more water"? You just drink more water! Well, first of all, don't be so literal. And second, if it were that simple, we here in the U.S. wouldn't be suffering a hydration crisis. It's true: A large percentage of Americans don't drink enough water, and dehydration is especially common as people age. In fact, up to 28% of older Americans aren't meeting their hydration needs. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that water intake is "significantly lower" in older adults.

Luckily, Americans seem to be on track to turn that around. The Stanley tumbler has become a cultural phenomenon, and people everywhere are lugging huge water bottles around with them in an effort to stay hydrated on the go.

person getting water from faucet
No need to "faucet" — these products will have you happily engaged with your daily-water-intake pursuit. (Canva)

That's important, given that dehydration can lead to a range of health issues, registered dietitian Scott Keatley, co-owner of Keatley Medical Nutrition Therapy, tells Yahoo Life. "Water is the medium in which most of our metabolic processes take place," he says. "We have body systems to protect us from deadly dehydration, but a decrease in body fluid by only 2% decreases athletic performance, cardiovascular function and the body’s ability to regulate temperature."

Luckily, dehydration is easily treatable by getting in more fluids. It can be a little tricky to figure out your exact hydration needs, but the U.S. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine recommends aiming for the following goals.

  • About 15.5 cups (3.7 liters) of fluids a day for men

  • About 11.5 cups (2.7 liters) of fluids a day for women

Worth noting: Those recommended numbers include hydration you get from water, other beverages and food.

To make sure you're staying hydrated, Keatley recommends that you "start by having a fair amount of fruits and vegetables, which not only have valuable nutrients but a significant amount of water." Naturally, you'll want to ensure you're drinking plenty of water — and coffee and tea can also help you reach your hydration goals, he says. "If my clients are very active or sweat more than the average person, we discuss increasing intake based on their specific needs," Keatley says.

Doing something as simple as carrying around a water bottle with you (and actually drinking from it throughout the day) can make a big difference too. Just know this, per Keatley: "You don’t need a two-gallon jug to meet your needs." Instead, he suggests getting a bottle that can hold up to a liter or so of liquid. "Filled up twice, [it] will help you meet your hydration needs for the day and is small enough to be used if you go on long walks or hit the gym," he says.

Bottles with motivational time markers can also help you stay on schedule, Keatley says, adding, "Sometimes it’s nice to have a reminder to take a little bit of time and have a beverage." Keep in mind, though, that you don't need to go overboard with your hydration. "There is a point at which you’re not benefiting yourself by chugging water," Keatley says. His recommendation: Set a daily goal and "see how that works for you."

You're feeling thirsty already, right? Good. But the key to effecting fundamental change is acquiring new habits, and that is where a number of super-practical, easy-to-use products can come in handy. And if they're smart-looking and fun, well, all the better.

Stanley's tumbler is an icon at this point. The 40-ouncer has a stainless steel, insulated interior to keep your cold drinks cool and hot drinks piping. It comes in a massive array of colors. If 40 ounces is too big for your needs, this tumbler is also available in sizes as small as 14 ounces. 

$45 at Amazon

If the $45 price tag of the Stanley tumbler isn't up your alley, consider this similar model from Simple Modern. It has a built-in straw, side handle and vacuum insulation. It also comes in your choice of fun or neutral colorways, along with 30- and 40-ounce sizes. 

$30 at Amazon

The massively popular on-the-go vessel keeps drinks cold for hours, thanks to a double-walled vacuum. It also features a "chug cap" for quick and easy drinking, and it fits in most cup holders. The stainless steel exterior is durable and won't dent if you accidentally drop it.

$30 at Amazon

Want to create your own delicious sports drink on the go? Amazon's bestselling electrolyte mix is easy to use: Just dump a packet into your water bottle and enjoy. Choose from a slew of delicious flavors, including lemon-lime and acai berry.

$22 at Amazon

Not really a water drinker? This glass pitcher has a special infuser and lid so you can add your favorite flavors to your H2O. Try strawberries and mint, cucumber or almost anything you can dream up. It also makes a great non-alcoholic option at dinner parties. Worth noting: It's dishwasher-safe.

$23 at Amazon

Staying on pace to have enough water during your day can be tough — especially when you're busy. This frosted plastic bottle is BPA-free and features convenient time markers to help keep you on track for optimal hydration during your day.

$17 at Amazon

The only downside of toting a standard water bottle is that it takes up space you may not have available. This foldable "bottle" is crafted from flexible BPA-free plastic, making it a great choice if your bag tends to get crowded. It holds up to 23 ounces, and you can choose from numerous color combinations.

$10 at Amazon

Sometimes you need a little extra push to get your hydration up to speed. This smart water bottle uses sensor technology to track your water intake. It syncs up to a hydration tracker app so you can see how well you're meeting your daily goals. It even glows to remind you to drink up.

$55 at Amazon

Sure, you could set a reminder on your phone to drink water, but this little light straps onto your water bottle and uses smart detection sensors to remind you to take a gulp at least once an hour. Go with this black version or choose from a range of inspirational and quirky messages from "Don't be a cactus" to "You got this!"

$25 at Amazon

This Brita filter is massively popular, with more than 43,000 perfect reviews. The BPA-free pitcher holds up to 10 cups of water, which can fill three 24-ounce water bottles before needing a refill. It's specially designed to fit on refrigerator shelves and has a locking lid that won't fall off when you pour.

$28 at Amazon

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