As we enter the cooler months, it becomes more challenging to stay hydrated. It's easy to forget to drink water, and many people are unaware of the risk of dehydration during colder weather.
Normal daily activities can result in water loss, such as eating, walking, or even sitting down. Even if we're not sweating, our skin can lose water.
During the colder months, we tend to layer up, and the dry air from indoor heating in offices or homes can contribute to dehydration. Our bodies are composed of 60-70% water, making proper hydration essential. Dehydration may increase the risk of kidney stones, constipation, and urinary tract infections.
So, how much water should you drink? The recommended intake depends on factors such as age, weight, and activity levels. On average, women should aim for 2.0 liters of water per day, while men should aim for 2.6 liters.
Water is vital for delivering nutrients, regulating blood pressure levels, and maintaining proper body temperature.
But how do you know if you're dehydrated? Here are some signs to watch for:
- Dizziness, headaches, or difficulty concentrating
- Irritability, feeling fuzzy or faint, and rapid heart rate
- Dry mouth, chapped lips, and dry skin
Here are some tips for staying hydrated in winter:
- Drink warm fluids if it's difficult to consume cold water. Warm water, hot herbal teas, and warming broths can contribute to your hydration.
- Add flavor to plain water by adding a wedge of lemon, lime, or other fruits. You can also use unsweetened water enhancers to infuse flavor.
- Carry a water bottle with you everywhere to encourage hydration throughout the day. If you're working from home, keep a designated water vessel at your desk and refill as needed.
- Incorporate water-rich fruits and vegetables, such as green leafy vegetables, citrus fruits, melons, tomatoes, and cucumbers, into your diet.
- Avoid excessive caffeine intake, as it can contribute to dehydration. For every caffeinated beverage, have an additional glass of water.
- Swap alcoholic drinks for mocktails. Alcohol should not be counted towards fluid intake and can affect cold perception, increasing the risk of hypothermia.
- Create a hydration routine by drinking a certain amount of water each day. Start with a glass of water on your bedside table to be consumed first thing in the morning, and make it your drink of choice throughout the day.
By following these tips and making a conscious effort to drink more water, you can stay hydrated and healthy throughout the winter months.
Gordon, B, & Klemm, S. (2022). How Much Water Do You Need? Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
Bilek, A. (2022). Hydration in Cold Weather. Penn State Extension.
Massachusetts General Hospital