Staying hydrated is crucial for maintaining optimal health and wellness at any time of year. However, it can be easy to forget about the importance of hydration during the cooler months and winter.
Winter weather can wreak havoc on your system, leaving your skin parched and body dehydrated. Even though your thirst response diminishes because of low temperature, staying well-hydrated during winter is as crucial as it is during the summer season.
The colder weather can easily mask symptoms of dehydration, which can cause you to neglect your water intake.
Here, we'll reveal why consciously continuing to hydrate in winter is so important and share our top tips for staying hydrated during the cooler months.
Why is Hydration Important in Cold Weather?
During the colder months, the air tends to be drier, which can quickly lead to increased water loss from the body.
This combined with the fact that most people tend to sweat less during the colder months, can make it easy to become dehydrated without even realising it.
Dehydration can lead to a host of negative effects, including headaches, migraines, sluggish digestion, dry skin, fatigue and even mental fog.
Tips for Staying Hydrated in Winter
1. Make Water Your Daily Friend
You are meant to consume a minimum of two litres of water per day (approximately 8 cups) for optimum body function, so you should hydrate early in the day and then sip water at regular intervals during the day.
Before you exercise or eat anything, it's a great idea to drink 2-3 glasses of clean, filtered water when you rise. Then, sip water after your morning walk or workout and intermittently throughout the day.
Take a water bottle with you wherever you go and always have a glass bottle of water with you if you're working behind a desk.
Finally, about 15-30 minutes before dinner have a further 1-2 glasses of water. These basic tips alone will go a long way to ensuring you're maintaining adequate hydration throughout the winter months.
2. Consume Hydrating Foods
In addition to drinking water, it's wise to regularly consume foods that are high in water content to help keep you hydrated. Examples include soups, broths, winter fruits e.g. citrus, melons and leafy greens.
Additionally, home made smoothies prepared with coconut water as a base are a great way to get extra hydration into your body at least a couple of times per week.
You can easily add a handful of frozen berries, banana chunks, pitted medjool dates, spinach or even a scoop of avocado - in any combination you like - to prepare a wonderfully hydrating and energising smoothie using coconut water.
3. Limit Alcohol and Caffeine Intake
While no one is going to tell you to forgo your daily cup of coffee, it's just worth keeping in mind that coffee is one of those beverages that can actually dehydrate you.
Likewise, alcohol has a similar effect so should only be consumed in moderation.
Try to limit your intake of coffee to one per day and your alcohol intake to a handful of drinks per week. At very least, if you are going to consume these beverages regularly, just be sure to drink plenty of extra water to offset their dehydrating effects.
4. Encourage Perspiration
It may sound counterintuitive to encourage your body to perspire in winter, but it serves two important purposes:
First, it encourages you to move your body to work up a sweat which opens up your body's most important channel of waste elimination, your skin. Second, it will encourage you to drink plenty of water to replenish the fluids you've lost during perspiration.
Besides exercise, a wonderful tool to use in winter for encouraging perspiration is traditional and infra-red saunas. Try to find a spa or recovery centre in your area and tap into the incredible health and immune-boosting benefits of saunas as often as you can during the winter months.
5. Pay Close Attention to Your Body
Don't wait until you're stuck down with a cold or sore throat before you start paying attention to your body.
Be mindful of the signs of dehydration, such as dry mouth, thirst, constipation and dark urine.
If you notice these signals, it's a sign or reminder that you need to increase your water intake to more optimum levels.
The Main Take Away
Staying hydrated is important year-round, but it's especially crucial during the winter months.
By drinking plenty of water, consuming hydrating foods, limiting your alcohol and caffeine intake, encouraging perspiration and tuning into your body's signals, you can stay hydrated and maintain optimal health and wellness all winter long.
Remember, water is a vital source of life and it can be your best friend to help you ward off threats and get through the winter season feeling great.
Tolman Self Care.