I have a water bottle with me wherever I go. I love drinking water and try to drink as much of it as possible throughout the day. During the summer months it’s easy to drink a ton of water because we’re hot, sweating, and trying to stay hydrated. During the winter months however, we all seem to drink less water because we aren’t sweating as much. But that’s not correct, we need to drink just as much water in the winter season as we do during summer.
Our bodies are made up of 70% water, and it’s super important that we stay hydrated all year long. During the cold winter months from November through April, we are losing water in our bodies by sweating. Think about all the extra layers of clothing that we wear to stay warm in winter. I know that after a while of wearing those layers that I am sweating, therefore we need to be drinking water. If you want creative ways to stay warm and drink your daily serving size of water, try drinking a lot of hot tea or hot chocolate that is mostly made of water. This way you won’t feel dehydrated but you will also stay nice and cozy warm.
What are the symptoms of dehydration?
Dehydration can show itself in any number of ways, but the most common symptoms are:
- feeling thirsty
- dark yellow and strong-smelling pee
- feeling dizzy or lightheaded
- feeling tired
- a dry mouth, lips and eyes
- peeing little, and fewer than four times a day
If you have any of these, try upping your intake to see if the symptoms ease.
Why is drinking water in winter important?
The water we drink helps keep our bodies at a balanced level which makes it easier to pump blood around our organs and systems. This means that when we need to cool our skin after exercise, the water in our skin (the largest human organ) gets used by the sweat glands to bring down our temperature. In winter, this balance can be thrown out of whack by the winter water loss mentioned previously. As a result, our blood volume decreases, core heat takes priority, and any extremities can cool much more rapidly.
So, staying hydrated and balanced is best to avoid both overheating and rapid cooling of our bodies.
Again, this is all about the water balance in our bodies. When the balance is right, our organs, metabolic and digestive systems can more easily work through and break down the things we eat and filter the things we drink. It doesn’t hurt that it makes us feel fuller and that it’s low calorie either. Plus, around winter, when there are loads of tasty treats around, it’ll help reduce the temptation to comfort-eat.
How to stay hydrated
So, how much water should you drink a day? Doctors recommend that we all drink around six to eight glasses of fluid a day. That sounds like a lot of water, but the good news is that it includes all kinds of fluids (except alcohol).
We are talking about water, sugar-free tea, coffee and hot drinks. Everything from milk to fruit juices, sports drinks and more. However, it is better to keep the high-sugar drinks to a minimum of one glass or none a day as they’re high in calories and can be caffeinated too.
The thing is, no matter how many kinds you can drink, it’s still difficult to meet the suggested target, so here are a few tips:
- Carry a water bottle wherever you go – the ones which come with built-in straws are good as you don’t have to make any lifting or arm-raising movements, so your natural flow is less interrupted.
- Get a travel mug – these are great for your hot water and other hot drinks on the go, and they keep your hands warm in winter too – bonus!
- Eat your fluids – try soups, stews, fruits and veg. These are all naturally high in water and count towards your target. Just be careful with the naturally high-sugar content in fruit.
- Try sparkling water, infused water or squash – these are low in sugars or fructose-free and make the bland taste of water a bit more palatable.
- Always drink when you eat – this will not only help towards your water goal, but it will help wash away tooth-rotting food remnants too.
Staying hydrated in winter is key to keeping our bodies functioning efficiently and healthily. So, even if you don’t feel any thirst, look out for the visual signs of dehydration, keep aiming for that eight glasses of drinking water a day and learn how to stay hydrated.