That water is summer's most essential beverage is no surprise. Hopefully you're already chugging the stuff regularly and keeping your body in check. After all, water makes up roughly 60 percent of the body's weight and keeps you hydrated and healthy. Without it, you become dehydrated, which results in all kinds of debilitating side effects, from lethargy to dry skin. And during summer, when you're sweating it out during a rough game of beach volleyball or smacking aces on the court, you lose even more water than usual through perspiration.
Obviously, replenishing that internal store is imperative for your body to function properly. Yet a cold bottle of H2O is admittedly not the most exciting thing in the world. Fortunately there are plenty of ways to make the ultimate cold drink a little bit more enjoyable. Prepare to enjoy water more than you ever thought possible!
Do it yourself.
These days, the shelves are packed with varieties enhanced with vitamins, electrolytes and a whole slew of other feel-good ingredients. The difference (besides the nutrient-infused formulas) is all in the flavor. You don't have to buy them, though! Just get creative and enrich your water with all kinds of fruity infusions. Try a blend of crushed berries and splash water over the mix, or toss in a tropical blend of kiwi and pineapple for a glass of water worthy of an island retreat.
Try an ice cube alternative.
Who needs frozen blocks of water when you can have fruit? Freeze a selection of your favorites – popular choices include grapes, oranges and limes – and drop them into a glass of water when it's time to refuel. The fruits will release their flavor slowly, and you'll enjoy an all-natural beverage and snack. Or take it to a whole other level and freeze coffee or layers of different juices in an ice cube tray. You can even freeze fruit in water and make extra colorful – and flavorful – cubes.
Juice it down.
A splash of no-sugar-added juice can liven up your water and give it a hint of fruity flavor, along with the natural benefits that fruit offers. For a real kick during summer, hydrate with a hint of cranberry or white grape, or just squeeze some fresh lemon or orange into your glass. Be sure to slide a wedge over the rim for a pretty finishing touch!
Try coconut water.
Sure, it's a "trendy" drink, but it's that way for a reason. Coconut water is loaded with electrolytes, and it's considered a fantastic recovery beverage after an arduous workout. The key: look for a variety that contains enough sodium, which is lost in abundance when you're pounding the pavement. Sodium-rich coconut water can be just as effective post-workout as a traditional sports drink, and also offers a refreshing alternative to plain water.
Fill up on hydrating fruits and vegetables.
There are many other ways to get your water fix – and they happen to be pretty delicious. Watermelon contains over 92 percent water and plenty of essential electrolytes, too. Oranges, pineapple and grapefruit also hover near the 90 percent mark. And, of course, all of these fruits feel great after a long summer day spent in the heat. Save time by throwing together a water-enhanced fruit salad the night before.
Give your spa a run for its money.
That tall glass of crisp water isn't some secret recipe concocted in the back confines of your favorite retreat. Stock up on a few delicious complements, like mint, cucumber and basil, and create your own fancy-schmancy H20 right at home. Added to icy water, the result is pure, spa-quality bliss and endless refreshment.
image: Alyson Hurt