Cold Weather Dehydration Tips
You might think that cold weather means you aren’t going to get dehydrated. After all, during those hot summer months, you’re often dripping with sweat and always reaching for a nice, cold bottle of water. Cold weather, though, can trick us pretty easily into thinking we’re doing just fine, since we’re sweating less, and feeling cooler – when in fact it is quite easy to get dehydrated during the coldest months of the year. Here are some tips and info about cold weather dehydration.
Why Do We Get Dehydrated in Cold Weather?
All dehydration means is that your body isn’t getting enough fluid to work in its intended way. We need a certain amount – roughly 8 or 9 glasses a day – in order to keep our body at its working limit. Believe it or not, it can sometimes be easier to stay hydrated during the late fall and winter.
- Because some people’s bodies feel less thirsty in the cold than in the hot weather, they will have a tendency to drink less water during those cold months
- Not being thirsty doesn’t necessarily translate to being properly hydrated
- You lose moisture in cold weather, just as in hot weather, but you don’t lose it in sweat as often during the cold
- We lose moisture through breathing, urination, sweating and other body functions, so staying replenished is helpful
How Do You Stay Dehydrated in Cold Weather?
The simplest rule is – drink more water. You will get some of your natural water intake from foods and other beverages, but pure water is your best bet for remaining hydrated. A few other things to keep in mind:
- Make sure to drink a good amount of water per day – don’t depend on feeling thirsty to guide when you drink – drink with intention
- Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables – this is the healthy thing to do for your body, and they are a great natural source of water for hydration. They are also better at helping you remain hydrated
- If you’re going to have a warm drink, it is best to make sure it is not caffeinated, as caffeine can dry you out considerably
- Another common dehydrator is alcohol, so you should avoid drinking alcohol when it is cold out
How Do You Know if You’re Dehydrated?
Sometimes you’ll know your body well enough to understand what you typically feel like when hydrated – maybe you sometimes feel a little sleepy, maybe you get a headache. If you know your body well enough, you’ll know when it’s time to load up on some water, and possibly some electrolytes. Again, don’t depend on the feeling of thirst to tell you whether or not you’re dehydrated – sometimes our internal timing can just be off. Some other possible signs of dehydration can be:
- Dark-colored urine
- Fatigue (not just feeling sleepy)
- Dry skin
If you do plan on drinking caffeine and/or alcohol during the cold months, do yourself a favor and follow the “one for one” rule – for every drink, you should have a full glass of water.