Although we don’t often associate cold-weather exercise with dehydration—the body doesn’t get as hot and sweat evaporates faster in the cold air—we are fooled into thinking we aren’t losing fluids as quickly. According to the Mayo Clinic, “Dehydration is when your body is losing more fluids than it is taking in.” It is a common problem, especially among young children, people exercising and sick people. Furthermore, the Mayo Clinic says that in order to prevent dehydration, “drink plenty of fluids and eat foods high in water such as fruits and vegetables… Fluids can be obtained not just from water but also from other beverages and foods.”
That’s just one way you can tackle the sneaky effects of dehydration! Rather than let your instinct to hydrate hibernate for the winter, let’s chat and chew about tips you can use to avoid dehydration during the colder months.
Bottoms up. Even though you don’t feel as sweaty working out in the winter, you are still losing fluids. According to an article in Shape Magazine, Carly Day, M.D., orthopedic surgeon and member of the American Medical Society for Sports medicine, said “research shows that you feel 40 percent less thirsty in the cold than when you’re warm—so you can’t count on body cues to tell you when to drink.” Keep a pulse on your thirst levels to know when it is time to take a sip. Also, take a look at these 3 Signs You’re Dehydrated During a Workout to help you point out when dehydration might be kicking in.
Plate your way to hydration. When it comes to dehydration, we mainly think liquid—Gatorade, coconut water and our trusty friend, water. Don’t forget to eat wisely, especially because “food counts for 20 to 30 percent of our water intake, and eating helps stimulate your thirst response,” according to Day. It is important to drink fluids, several fruits and vegetables have a high water content that can help you reach your daily intake goals. Broccoli, strawberries and celery are all great sources of water, or you can try one of these 15 foods that help you stay hydrated.
Cut back on sodium. Salty foods can make you excessively thirsty and can also lead to bloating.
Enjoy something warm. Try a nice cup of hot green tea, or even hot water with lemon. These two hot beverages will keep you toasty on a cold winter’s day, but also help you keep on pace to drink your eight glasses of water.
Don’t over-layer. Wearing too many layers or bulky clothes will make you sweat more, causing your body to lose extra fluid. Start off with a good base layer that helps keep you dry. Check out REI’s Layering Guide to learn more about the basics of layering clothes in the winter months.
The effects of winter may sometimes be inevitable—dry hands, scratchy throat and brittle nails—but staying hydrated is one thing you have control over. Keep a water bottle at hand that can be refilled to help you achieve your daily water intake. Remember, while it is especially important in the winter, when it comes to proper hydration, drinking water is a must for all seasons!