Health guidelines often recommend drinking eight 8-ounce glasses of water (or, 64 ounces) per day to stay healthy, but Denver Water employees recently stepped up to a bigger challenge: drinking 100 ounces of water a day.
The task was part of Denver Water’s focus on wellness for its 1,100 employees.
The wellness program includes voluntary challenges throughout the year, typically lasting three weeks, that include goals such as ditching fast food, eating more fruits and vegetables, and getting more exercise. The challenges are selected by Denver Water’s wellness committee, which includes 15 employees who volunteer their time.
About 120 employees typically participate in the monthly challenges by tracking their activities, said Sandra Miller, Denver Water’s health services manager.
But the mission to drink 100 ounces per day, which started June 4 and ended June 22, raised some eyebrows because, well, 100 ounces can be A LOT of water for some people.
“We chose 100 ounces as the goal because it’s Denver Water’s 100th anniversary this year — but that’s just a goal,” Miller said. “The point of the challenge is to have people track how they’re doing and try to reach the goal.”
Plus, Miller said, the fluid ounces don’t have to be just water.
“It’s not just drinking out of a water glass. I can count strawberries or other fruits and vegetables as part of the water tracking,” she said.
What doesn’t count? Drinks with sugar, pop and caffeine. (That means your daily cuppa joe doesn’t make the cut.)
“We need to realize that our body is mostly water, not soda or coffee,” Miller said.
And drinking enough water is important for everyone on these hot summer days.
Miller offered three simple tips to keep the water flowing:
- Have a water bottle with you.
- Keep it filled.
- Drink it.
So, how are the employees faring in this month’s challenge?
“I found it hard to drink 100 ounces a day,” confessed Russ Slade, a senior planner at Denver Water who works on water rights issues and volunteers on the wellness committee.
He typically drinks 64 ounces of water per day by twice draining the big, 32-ounce water bottle he keeps close by. He drinks more on days he rides his bike several miles to work.
But he’s aiming for the goal, which is the bigger point of the challenge, Slade said. To do that, he uses a water bottle that has measurement marks on it, and places the bottle so he can see how much he’s already had and how much is left.
Christine Martinez, an IT program manager for customer information systems and a member of the wellness committee, keeps a water bottle in the car and sneaks a drink at stoplights.
She’s a runner who did the Colfax Marathon in May and likes to run 5 to 10 miles a day during the week.
Her trick is to set goals throughout the day, such as drinking a certain amount of water by lunchtime.
“I have to drink a lot of water, otherwise it makes it harder for me to run well,” said Martinez.
Merry Weis, an administrative senior assistant at Denver Water, has had her favorite water bottle for five years.
It can hold 32 ounces of water, has measurement marks on the side and came with a straw.
“I just drink more water if I have a straw,” Weis said.
Toward the end of the challenge, Weis said she was logging between 80 and 85 ounces of water per day and inching toward the goal.
“It’s all about the progress,” she said.