It’s summer – drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration!
While this piece of age-old advice is certainly true – drinking the proper amount of water is crucial to avoid dehydration – it’s not quite complete. That’s because it’s just as easy to get dehydrated in the colder temps of fall and winter as the blistering heat of summer (if not actually easier).
Surprised? Most people are. But there are some pretty logical reasons cooler temperatures contribute to fluid loss and dehydration:
Respiratory fluid loss. When it’s so cold outside that you can “see” your breath, you’re seeing water vapor evaporate. The colder the temperatures (or the harder you’re exerting yourself), the more water you’ll lose with every breath.
You’re less thirsty. When you get cold, your body constricts blood vessels to keep warming blood in your core. This leads to your body thinking it’s properly hydrated, reducing your thirst response. Without feeling as thirsty most people will think to drink less, even though your body’s need for water stays constant year-round.
Heavier clothing. You add on the layers during the fall and winter – which adds on some weight. Heavy layers of clothing cause the body to work harder and produce more sweat – which contributes to further fluid loss.
Sweat evaporates quickly in cold air. Speaking of sweat, it doesn’t stick to your skin when the weather is cold and dry. Faster evaporation means more fluid loss – but you don’t know it because you aren’t feeling sticky or hot.
Is Water Really Than Important?
You know how they say you can’t live without love? Well, you really can’t live without water. Water makes up nearly 70% of your body weight and is responsible for everything from waste removal to temperature regulation to brain function and more. Because every cell and tissue in your body needs water to work properly, and water is constantly lost through breathing, sweat, digestion, it’s essential to your health that you replenish your water intake every day (no matter the season).
Easy Tips to Meet Your Daily Water Intake
Despite the old eight glasses per day rule, the amount of water you should drink varies person-to-person. Healthy individuals may need less than patients with illness or chronic conditions, while active athletes may need to up their water intake during a hard workout. And remember – if you’re feeling thirsty, you’re already dehydrated.
According to The Mayo Clinic, these easy tips can help you meet (and maintain) your daily water intake:
- Flavor it. Add fruits like lemon, lime, cucumbers, or strawberries to give plain water a pleasing taste.
- Add it to a routine. Make a plan to drink a glass of water every time you brush your teeth, eat a meal, or use the restroom.
- Take it with you. Avoiding having to turn to less beneficial drinks by filling a bottle of water before you leave home and taking it with you.
- Swap it out. If you can’t give up the sodas or sugary drinks completely, try switching to a glass of water between every other drink.