4 Ways To Stay Hydrated at Work (And Why It’s Important)
We all know the importance of staying hydrated in summer, but most people don’t think about it the rest of the year, especially during the average work day. Why is staying hydrated so hard? For some reason, drinking enough water to stay hydrated seems to be easily overlooked. When we’re in an air-conditioned office, focusing on a million different tasks, staying hydrated often gets put on the back burner—yet it’s one of the most important things we can do for our health.
In 2021, bottled water was the most popular drink of the year, accounting for about 25 percent of beverage consumption in the U.S. It wasn’t that long ago—just 2016—that carbonated soft drinks took the top spot. Luckily the tides have turned, as sugar-laden drinks can wreak havoc on your health by increasing the risk of obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease and a host of other issues. Choosing to drink water over soda, juices and other sugary beverages can help reduce the risk of some of those diseases, plus provide a host of health benefits.
Why it’s important to stay hydrated at work
Proper hydration helps boost metabolism and reduce daytime fatigue. Dehydration can lead to headaches, decreased memory and can even reduce job productivity. By the time you feel thirsty, it’s already too late—you’re already dehydrated.
Mild dehydration is considered to occur when 1.5% of normal water volume is lost. Our thirst sensation appears around that time. The human body can last weeks without food, but only days without water. Since the body can’t store water, we need a fresh supply throughout the day to make up for losses from sweating, exertion and basic bodily functions.
Who needs to stay hydrated?
Everyone! It’s easy to become dehydrated without even thinking about it. If you’re exercising, working outdoors in hot weather or working indoors in stuffy conditions, you’re at risk of becoming dehydrated at work.
How can I drink more water at work?
A good rule of thumb is to drink half your body weight in ounces of water every day. For example, a 150-pound person should drink 75 ounces (about 9 cups) of liquid each day. Registered dietician Kim Larson, a spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, says “It’s just as important for someone who is working at a computer all day [to drink water], as it is for somebody who is running a marathon.” To that effect, it’s important to keep sipping consistently throughout the day while you’re at work so you’re sufficiently hydrated for work responsibilities and tasks.
If a busy workday is keeping you and your employees from drinking more water, don’t worry. These tips will make it easy to knock back more H2O.
Tips for staying hydrated
Most people can stay hydrated at work by sipping water throughout the day and by consuming hydrating foods. Hands down, water is the best choice for hydration because it is free of sugars, artificial sweeteners or other additives. Fruit-infused water, coconut water, naturally flavored waters and some
sports drinks containing electrolytes such as sodium and potassium can be smart alternatives in a pinch. These beverages can often be found in a healthy vending machine. As well as drinking enough water, limiting intake of salty foods can also reduce a person’s risk of dehydration.
1. Keep water at your desk
A bottle of water is a visual reminder to hydrate. For employees with desk jobs, this is the best way to stay hydrated at work. Staying hydrated can also reduce headaches that may be worsened by eye strain.
If you don’t already have a specialty water bottle to help you stay on track, it might be time to invest. There are marked water bottles with an amount and time indicated to inspire frequent sipping; smart water bottles that give you a sign when it’s time to sip up; Hydro Flasks to keep water at ideal temperature; and even apps to remind you to drink more.
2. Take regular hydration breaks
We get so caught up in busy days that we sometimes forget self-care. A water break is a quick opportunity to sip, savor and relax the mind for just a moment. When break time is over, your body and mind will be ready to take on whatever work challenge comes your way.
3. Choose hydrating healthy snacks
Many people notice a decreased appetite during summer. Eating smaller meals of hydrating fruits and vegetables can help you stay hydrated and energized. In fact, 20 percent of daily water intake comes from the foods we eat. High-water foods such as watermelon, cantaloupe, cucumbers, berries and leafy greens are nutritional powerhouses with a hydrating impact.
Pro tip: Healthy snacks like nuts can boost sodium and potassium loss that can be a side effect of dehydration.
4. Encourage employees to drink water
At meetings and throughout the workday, providing easy access to water and other healthier drinks can motivate employees to drink up and stay hydrated. This can be as simple as providing bottled water at meetings, giving employees company-branded, refillable water bottles and providing a refill station, or having Healthy YOU Vending on site, stocked with a variety of plain and flavored waters to make staying hydrated more palatable for everyone.
Simply put, a busy work schedule shouldn’t keep you from staying hydrated. Prevent dehydration by drinking plenty of water throughout the day. A healthy vending machine at work can provide easy access to healthier, hydrating beverages. Be the healthy hero and get one now.