Experts tell us not to wait until we are thirsty to drink. If your body is sending thirst signals then you are already DEHYDRATED.

Just open your mouth and swallow, surely? Well, yes, but you need a glass of the stuff in your hand first, and that’s the problem. We all know we should drink about eight glasses of water a day, but how many of us do? I have found I go through phases of drinking lots. I then lapse and forget how good I felt when I was imitating a camel.

I think a lot of the trouble is the accessibility, or not, of bathroom facilities. If I am going out for the day, shopping perhaps, I don’t even bother to take a drink with me. If I do, I know I am going to spend a lot of the day searching for bathrooms. If I am having a day at home, and on a health kick, I drink lots of water. I feel the benefit of it, too. Clear and softer skin, bright eyes, and generally a lot healthier. Constant bathroom trips, of course, but at least I catch up on my reading there.

I think I have a solution to this problem. Drinking little and often. This works because it doesn’t put a big strain on your bladder, causing an urgency. It is also easier for the kidneys. Everything you drink has to be filtered by your kidneys, and some drinks, such as caffeinated drinks and alcohol require more effort for your kidneys. While it is good to drink water, you are not really ‘flushing’ your kidneys. Much of the time, you are overloading them. Drinking vast amounts of water at a time can put a strain on them. Patients with kidney problems are told not to drink more than a cup of liquid at any one time.

Experts tell us not to wait until we are thirsty to drink. If your body is sending thirst signals then you are DEHYDRATED. Dehydration is bad news. You feel achy, tired, sluggish. Your urine is colored (it should be almost clear if you are drinking enough water) and often smelly.

Many people don’t drink any water. They think that if they aren’t hot and sweating they aren’t losing water. Not true. You lose water just by breathing. Breathe on a mirror and see the water vapor you make. Believe me, you will feel so much better by increasing your water intake.

Here are my tips for drinking more water :

Bottles

Carry around a bottle of water with you. I use a small, 8oz bottle. I carry it with me everywhere, replenishing it from a larger bottle I keep in a coolbag in the car or one I keep in the fridge at home.

Simply take a swig from it REGULARLY – i.e. at least every half hour. This way you are not overloading your kidneys or your bladder, yet are keeping your body hydrated and smooth-running.

During cold/flu season, I add a pinch of vitamin C powder to my bottle of water. This gives me a regular shot of vitamin C which works to keep illness at bay. As I also suffer from arthritis, I also add MSM powder to my water.

A glass between meals

Working on 3 meals a day, drinking a glass between meals would only give you 3 glasses a day – and you need to be drinking more than double that.

Try drinking a glass half an hour before each meal, then another one 2 hours after. Always have a glass on waking (I can manage two, as I usually wake up thirsty). This cleanses the system and gives you a good kick-start to the day. My grandmother always drank a glass of warm water with a slice of lemon first thing in the morning. Not bad health-thinking for a woman born at the start of the 20th century! She believed that the warm water acted as a slight laxative. I’m not sure about that – I would imagine that the body would quickly adjust the water’s temperature to it’s own – but she insisted that it worked, so maybe it did.

A glass between drinks

Almost everything you drink other than water causes dehydration (tea, coffee, soda, alcohol, etc.,). So it is a good idea to order a glass of water (usually free unless you want mineral water) EVERYTIME you order another drink. That way you are at least putting back what you losing.

During the night

I have got into the habit of taking a bottle of water to bed with me when I had a cold once. I found I got very dry in the night and the cool water was soothing. Now I take a bottle up every night. If I don’t need it during the night I drink it as soon as I wake. That way I don’t need to remember to drink a glass before breakfast.

My husband likes this method too, as he is always too hungry in the morning to remember to drink. If he has his bottle by the side of the bed, he drinks it as he is getting dressed. Then he charges downstairs to attack the cereal and toast!

Experiment to see how you enjoy water. My husband has discovered that he enjoys water more if it is very cold. He also likes his water to be fizzy sometimes. We bought a Sodastream for this. Children tend to enjoy water more this way, too.

I don’t like water to be too cold (sets my teeth on edge), so I drink it from the tap. We installed a tap filter quite cheaply and it produces lovely water.

One of our friends can only drink it if it is slightly flavoured. Shop-bought flavoured waters often contain dubious additives and can be expensive. She simply adds a drop of whatever fruit juice is open in the ‘fridge. You could also try a slice of lemon, orange or lime or a whole strawberry or raspberry.

A good site to visit is Water.com. This has a ‘Hydration Calculator’ – it tells you how much water you need to drink, working on your body weight and exercise level.

Many people are dehydrated without realising it. It is only when they start to rehydrate their bodies that they realise how bad they felt before!

Give yourself a week of increased water intake to test this for yourself. Your bladder will protest at first, causing frequent bathroom trips, but it will soon settle down. Water doesn’t irritate the bladder in the way that tea and coffee do and it will learn to hold more. Your blood will be less thick, your joints more flexible your head less woozy.

I really hope you try this – I believe it is one of the greatest secrets to health.