Most of us tend to associate being thirsty and dehydrated with the hot days of summer — especially when we’re sweating profusely in hot and humid climates. But were you aware that you can still get dehydrated in cooler weather as well? That’s right, winter dehydration is a thing. Just because we can’t see or feel ourselves sweating in the sun doesn’t mean our bodies are not losing water.
Winter dehydration can result in headaches, elevated heart rate, muscle cramping, or even excessive hunger. On the other hand, maintaining hydration can improve your focus, boost your immunity, keep your skin from drying out, and even maintain your silky smooth, luscious locks. You might have to make more of a conscious effort to keep yourself hydrated in the fall and winter months, but it’s worth it.
What Is Winter Dehydration?
Dehydration is caused by one of two things: either by not drinking enough fluids or by losing more fluid than you are taking in. This makes your body unable to function properly, its overall condition worsening the more dehydrated you are.
For context, the average adult needs around 100 ounces of water daily — although several factors can affect that number, including age, gender, and activity level. We can lose fluid through sweat, tears, urine, vomit, and diarrhea, and the severity of dehydration can depend on your diet, climate, and level of physical exercise.
What Are the Causes Behind Winter Dehydration?
Regardless of the outside temperature, your body loses moisture all day through perspiration, respiration, and other normal bodily functions. But since people don’t usually associate dehydration with cold weather, staying hydrated can become less of a conscious concern in the colder months. Dehydration can be more of a threat in the winter because of a simple lack of awareness, as most people don’t notice the fluids leaving their bodies.
Diminished Thirst Response
People tend to get less thirsty in cold weather, resulting in their drinking less water than in the summer months. But being less thirsty does not necessarily mean you are better hydrated. There are some physiological shifts that can cause a lack of thirst, but diminished thirst usually occurs simply because when you’re cold you don’t crave cold or even room-temperature water the way you do in heat.
Increased Respiratory Water Loss
You know when it’s cold outside, and you can see your breath as you exhale? That’s water evaporating and leaving your body, and the drier the air is, the more water you will lose. Therefore, breathing in cold and dry air can result in more significant water loss through respiration when compared to warmer weather. And the heavier and faster you breathe, the more vapor you lose with each breath.
Less Obvious Perspiration
In the summer months, sweat is obvious. The air is more humid, so sweat doesn’t evaporate off of our skin as quickly. In cold, dry weather, your sweat evaporates at a faster rate, leaving less accumulated on your skin. So even when you’re sweating significantly, cold weather makes it less obvious that you are perspiring and losing water. Since we tend to equate sweat with dehydration, this lack of awareness can subconsciously lead us to think that we don’t need to replace fluids as often.
7 Ways to Stay Hydrated in Cooler Weather
- Don’t rely on a feeling of thirst to tell you when you need to drink more water. Set a specific water goal for each day and stick to it.
- Always have water with you. If you already carry water on you in the summer months, continue this habit in the fall and winter.
- If you have difficulty drinking water when the weather is cold, try adding warm water-based beverages like herbal tea or hot cider instead.
- Minimize your alcohol, coffee, and caffeinated beverage intake. They are all considered diuretics, making you urinate more often, thus being more dehydrating.
- Don’t forget about replenishing your fluids before, during, and after physical activity. The American Council on Exercise suggests the following guidelines:
- Drink 17-20 ounces (oz) of water 2-3 hours before working out
- Drink 8 oz of water at least 30 min before exercising or during your warm-up
- During your workout, drink 7-10 oz every 10-20 minutes
- No more than 30 minutes after completing your workout, drink 8 oz of water
- You can get water from the foods you consume, so be sure to eat your fruits and vegetables. Not only are these foods healthy and high in nutrients, but they will also help you stay hydrated. Celery, strawberries, cantaloupe, and oranges are easy ways to sneak some extra water into your diet. Eating homemade soups with vegetables can also keep you hydrated while providing nourishment and warmth. Meanwhile, limit your fried and processed food intake because they siphon moisture out of your body.
- If you are sick with a cold or the flu, it will increase your fluid loss, so make a point to avoid extreme dehydration when you are under the weather. Drinking more water than normal and having plenty of soup are easy ways to avoid compounding your sickness with dehydration.
The Science of Water
At The Science of Water, we are an authorized dealer of Puronics whole house water filter systems and water softeners. With the fall and winter months descending upon us, now is the perfect time to request your free water test. Fill out our online form, and after we receive your results, we will provide you with a free estimate and recommendations to determine which of our products will work best for you, your home, and your family.
Staying hydrated year-round is of the utmost importance, and knowing that you are drinking and cooking with highly filtered, crystal clear water can help set your mind at ease. Puronics drinking water systems are installed under the kitchen sink, out of sight. It can also be plumbed to your refrigerator’s door dispenser for easy access.
With a Puronics system, you can enjoy bottle-quality water right at home, which is also eco-friendly and cost-effective. Our filtration systems are the same, if not better, than those used as the larger water bottling facilities. We offer reverse osmosis systems and protection based on NASA technology, and selected products have even been tested and certified by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
At The Science of Water, we are a company proud of providing American homes with the clean water they deserve. So contact us today, and let’s schedule your free water test. We’re ready to help you achieve the cleanest, purest water and keep your family hydrated all winter long.
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