I can think of nothing that tastes better than a glass of ice water on a hot summer day. Water is crisp, clean and extremely refreshing. We all know that water is good for us, and drinking water couldn't be easier. Yet most of us have not added this task into our daily routine.

I have to admit, drinking a lot of water is not always the most convenient thing to do and, of course, we must not forget the increased visits to the restroom with added water intake. Those few downsides are heavily outweighed by water's many benefits. So what are the benefits to drinking water? How much should you drink? And how can we add water into our daily routine?

Benefit: Weight Loss

Water is one of the very best tools for weight loss. Water will often replace high-calorie drinks like soda and juice, and while you are not getting any additional calories from diet drinks, you are ingesting chemicals that are really not needed within your body. Water also acts as an appetite suppressant in a few different ways. Often times when we are craving food it is actually the first stages of dehydration and our body is craving water. We misjudge this craving and mistake it for hunger, when in fact we are thirsty. Secondly, water takes up space in our stomachs. If you add a large glass of water to your meals, you will feel satisfied sooner and after eating less food. Remember, water is calorie-free so skip dessert and have a second glass.

Benefit: Heart Health

Drinking water can reduce your risk of a heart attack. A six-year study published in the May 1, 2002 American Journal of Epidemiology found that people who drink more than 5 glasses of water a day were 41 percent less likely to die from a heart attack during the study period than those who drank less than two glasses. The study got even deeper and found that those who chose to drink something other than water for the two glasses were 147 percent more likely to suffer a fatal heart attack.

Benefit: Headache Cure

One symptom of dehydration is headaches. When we suffer a headache it can often be from not drinking enough water. There are, of course, other causes for headaches but dehydration is a very common cause and extremely easy to remedy.

Benefit: Increased Energy

Dehydration can leave you feeling weak and lethargic. As you lose as little as 1 percent of your body weight you will begin to feel the effects of the first stage of dehydration. Skip the energy drinks and simply make sure you are hydrated. Remember, if you are feeling 

Fitness, Tim Shevlin, Santiva Chronicle

thirsty, you are already dehydrated. Prevent this by steadily drinking water throughout the day, and increase your water intake before, during and after exercise.

Benefit: Help Decrease Cancer Risk

According to the American Society of Clinical Oncology, there is a statistically significant correlation between total fluid intake and 

the risk of bladder, colon and breast cancer. This is thought to be a result from the natural cleansing effect that water has on the body. Water naturally helps our body to flush out toxins and waste products that our body produces and accumulates.

So, you've decided that you would like to take advantage of the benefits that water has to offer, but making it a daily habit may be a difficult step in the beginning. After all, until drinking water becomes part of your daily routine, it will still be a task. Here are some steps that may help you increase your water drinking habit.

First: How Much Water Should You Drink?

That is a debatable question. While most doctors still recommend eight, 8-ounce glasses of water a day, I recommend much more. Due to my own size and exercise regimen I drink 3 gallons of water per day. Your individual water intake will depend on how active you are, your weight, even the climate in which you live. I recommend you drink a glass of water when you wake up, with each meal, and hourly between meals. The key is not to let yourself feel thirsty—as soon as you feel thirsty, dehydration has already started to set in.

Tip One: Carry a Water Bottle

Whether it be a Tervis Tumbler or a Kleen Kanteen, if you are carrying around a water bottle you are more likely to drink from it. TryFitness, Tim Shevlin, Santiva Chronicle and make it something that is always with you, just like your purse or wallet.

Tip Two: Set a Reminder

During a busy day it is very easy to forget to eat and drink completely. Set your phone to remind you every hour; this simple reminder can help keep you on task.

Tip Three: Make Water Your Drink of Choice

The next time you would normally order a soda or an alcoholic beverage, try an ice cold, calorie-free sparkling water instead. Add some citrus, mint or cucumber to your glass of water for an elegant taste while giving your body the hydration it craves.

Tip Four: Install a Water Filter at Home

Depending on your source, bottled water can impose a significant cost to your budget and the environment. Install a filter in your home and get all the benefits of having convenient, great tasting drinking water at a fraction of the price of disposable bottles.

Tip Five: Keep a Log

When trying to create any new habit, I find that writing it down really helps. Writing down any activity helps keep you mindful and on track.