How to Meet Your Hydration Goals in the Winter
In the heat of summer, it is usually pretty easy to tell when we need to drink water. If we are walking outside or exercising in the sunshine, we might feel hot or begin perspiring. In those scenarios, it seems natural to reach for something refreshing to drink. But when the weather turns colder, it may not be as top-of-mind to grab that bottle of water and meet your hydration goals.
Unless you are doing cardio exercise – skiing, snowshoeing, running or fat-tire cycling – you might not be sweating as much in the winter. Cold, windy conditions can cause sweat to evaporate quickly from exposed skin. And for some people, lower temperatures outside mean they might not even feel as thirsty as they would in warmer weather.
So, keeping yourself hydrated in winter can take a little extra effort.
Why staying hydrated in winter is important
Drinking enough water each day is important no matter what the season. Your body needs water to survive. By staying properly hydrated, you are ensuring that water is helping to keep every system in your body functioning. Water is needed to regulate your body temperature, cushion your joints, aid digestion, normalize your blood pressure and stabilize your heartbeat, according to Harvard Medical School. In winter, water is especially important because drier air means your body is taking in less moisture than it normally would.
Signs of dehydration
How can you tell if your body is not getting enough water? Here are some things to watch out for:
- Feeling extremely thirsty
- Urinating less frequently
- Urine that is dark in color
- Feeling tired
- Feeling confused
- Dry lips
- Dry mouth
- Scratchy, dry eyes
- Muscle cramps
How much water should you be drinking?
The popular rule of thumb is that you should aim for eight glasses of water each day. But that might not be what every person needs. According to the Mayo Clinic, men should aim for 15.5 cups of fluids a day to stay hydrated and women should try to get 11.5 cups a day. Water can also come into our bodies from coffee, tea and other beverages, as well as water-rich foods we eat. These include salads, fruits and vegetables.
Easy ways to stay hydrated
Getting enough water in the winter might take a little work at first. Here are some tips to get you started:
- Drink water or another beverage with each meal, and between each meal.
- Warm it up: hot tea, hot chocolate and coffee offer warming sips in winter.
- Add more soup to your winter. Broth-based soups provide lots of liquid and are usually packed with good-for-you vegetables.
- Smoothies are a hydrating drink. Adding water-packed fruits like berries and melon increases your liquid intake.
- Use an app. Track your daily water intake by installing an app on your phone. Some popular ones include Daily Water, WaterMinder, Hydro Coach and Aqualert.
- If you are exercising, remember to carry water with you and drink it before, during and after a workout.
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