I know you hear it over and over, but I can’t emphasize how important it is to drink enough water. It is essential to overall body function and helps with weight loss, energy and endurance, skin appearance, organ health, bowel function…and the list goes on. Since I’m pretty confident we all agree that all of those things are important to us - especially in the Law Enforcement profession where you are at higher risk for injury and health issues, I shall proceed with how much you should be drinking.
There are varying opinions when it comes to water consumption. The most popular recommendation is the 8x8 rule - eight 8 ounce glasses (the equals half a gallon). My personal preference and recommendation is actually double that - one gallon a day. That may sound like a lot - 16 glasses of water, but it’s easily attainable. After time you will actually find yourself able to drink even more than a gallon as your body adapts. The challenge when it comes to those who work in Law Enforcement is that you can’t be running to the bathroom every 10 minutes (excuse me suspect, can you please wait here while I use the little boys room) and you don’t always have access to drinking water (ever been stuck on a call for hours on end or tied to the radio/phones because dispatch is busy). Here are some tips to make it easier to drink more water:
Seize the opportunity to drink as much as you can - when you can. Here are 3 key times when you can get ahead/catch up on your water intake while limiting the on-duty potty breaks.
Wherever your water is, there you are. Making sure you tied to your water like you are the radio - you couldn’t or wouldn’t work without your radio right? Keep it with you in briefing, at your desk, in your unit, take it to trainings, etc. When things are convenient they become easy to do and it eventually becomes habit.
Carry a gallon or half gallon water jug so you don't have to worry about running out and not being able to refill when work gets busy. It’s also great to be able to see how much you have left to drink throughout your day - I like to set a guideline schedule of how much I want to drink by certain times (i.e. half gallon done by 11:00 a.m.)
Make drinking water desirable by adding flavor. Many people tell me that they don’t like drinking water due to lack of taste - I used to feel the same way but after feeling the benefits of drinking it, I didn’t mind doing it and eventually it became my preferred drink. If you want to add/have some taste, here are a few options.
Set a schedule. We set reminders and scheduled for the things that are important - work, family activities, holidays, to do lists; why not do the same for drinking water.
Please let me know if you find these tips helpful, I would love some feedback and to hear your success stories.