Usually when we hear the word hydration it is associated with drinking adequate amounts of water during the summer months when heat and humidity are at an all-time high. But staying hydrated should be a priority year-round. Although it may not be as obvious to notice, dehydration can still occur in cold weather.
What is dehydration?
Dehydration is the shortage of water in the body that can result from inadequate intake of fluids or excessive loss of fluids.1 There are several factors that can affect the amount of water needed each day, but on average most adults should drink around 50-70% of their body weight in ounces. If an individual is more active, the amount of water should increase.2
It may not be as obvious, but it is possible to become dehydrated when it is cold outside. In the summer it’s usually easier to identify cues that the body needs to be hydrated, while in the winter, it may be harder to notice. Some studies have shown that we can feel up to 40% less thirsty in the winter months even though the body’s water needs remain unchanged. It is thought that by the time an individual experiences thirst, the body is already dehydrated.3
Benefits of staying hydrated
There are many benefits to drinking water, which you may remember is essential to life. It accounts for 60 percent of our body weight and is (obviously) an extremely important and valuable resource for the body.4 Water is instrumental in serving major bodily functions throughout our day-to-day lives. Examples include, transporting nutrients and waste products to and from our major organs, regulating body temperature, lubricating joints and most notably, acting as a shock absorber during pregnancy. Drinking water also helps to support skin health and moisture as well as support physical performance.5
4 Tips to help you stay hydrated in the winter
- Be intentional about drinking water. Set an alarm or make a check list to ensure you are drinking adequate amounts of water throughout the day.
- Eat water-rich foods to help increase hydration. Fruits, vegetables, milk, and low sodium broths are great options to help support hydration needs.6
- Low calorie, low sugar drinks, decaffeinated teas and ciders are creative ways to increase fluid intake. Electrolyte replacement beverages, such as AdvoCare Rehydrate® can also be great options to help ensure proper hydration.
- Before indulging in a snack, try drinking a glass of water. Many times individuals mistake hunger for thirst.
What tips will you incorporate to ensure that you are staying hydrated during the winter months?
- Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research. (2021, October 14). Dehydration. Mayo Clinic. Retrieved November 7, 2022, from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/dehydration/symptoms-causes/syc-20354086
- Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research. (2022, October 12). How much water do you need to stay healthy? Mayo Clinic. Retrieved November 7, 2022, from https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/water/art-20044256#:~:text=The%20U.S.%20National%20Academies%20of,fluids%20a%20day%20for%20women
- Kenefick, R. W., Hazzard, M. P., Mahood, N. V., & Castellani, J. W. (2004). Thirst sensations and AVP responses at rest and during exercise-cold exposure. Medicine and science in sports and exercise, 36(9), 1528–1534. https://doi.org/10.1249/01.mss.0000139901.63911.75
- SITNFlash. (2019, September 26). Biological roles of water: Why is water necessary for life? Science in the News. Retrieved November 7, 2022, from https://sitn.hms.harvard.edu/uncategorized/2019/biological-roles-of-water-why-is-water-necessary-for-life/#:~:text=Water%20makes%20up%2060%2D75,broadly%20governs%20all%20life%20forms.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2022, June 6). Water and healthier drinks. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved November 7, 2022, from https://www.cdc.gov/healthyweight/healthy_eating/water-and-healthier-drinks.html#:~:text=Water%20helps%20your%20body%3A,%2C%20perspiration%2C%20and%20bowel%20movements.
- WebMD. (n.d.). 10 foods high in water and Why you need it. WebMD. Retrieved November 7, 2022, from https://www.webmd.com/diet/foods-high-in-water