What We Forget About Staying Hydrated In Cool Weather
When it’s warm out, sweat is a nice visual reminder that water is leaving our body so we’d be wise to put more water back in.
When it’s cold out, it’s not as simple. The truth is, though, that even the state of being cold means we should be drinking more. Whether you’re exercising or just going about your day, cold weather can actually increase your risk of dehydration.
What’s even more confusing? Cold weather can decrease your sensation of thirst by up to 40%.
So if cold weather makes it easier to become dehydrated, and we’re less likely to be thirsty despite that, it means that staying hydrated is arguably more important in the winter months.
And at Antsy Labs, we are nothing if not passionate about hydration.
To help us all with our hydration health as we head into the fall and winter months, we’re sharing five things we forget about staying hydrated in cool weather.
5 Things To Know About Staying Hydrated In The Fall & Winter
Drinking Liquids All Day Doesn’t Mean We’re Hydrated - ‘Tis the season for Pumpkin Spice Lattes, Peppermint Hot Chocolates, Spiced Wine, and a thousand other warm beverage treats. Could part of the reason we’re not drinking as much (or any!) water be because we’re busy drinking other beverages instead? Given the debate that swirls around coffee hydrating or dehydrating us, the safest conclusion is the simplest one: don’t rely on your caffeinated drinks, and just add some water throughout the day.
Just Being Cold Uses Up Our Body’s Water - The nice thing about sweating when it’s warm is how clear an indicator it is. Being cold, though? It’s a much sneakier way of losing our body’s water. When we’re cold, we can sweat from warm clothes, we use up more energy just being outside, and there’s even cold-induced diuresis (which is why we tend to go to the bathroom more when it’s cold).
If You Can See Your Breath, Have A Drink - Even as I enter my post-late-20s (some would call them mid-30s, but those people are jerks), I am endlessly charmed by seeing my breath during the winter. Seeing your breath is a sign that the air can’t hold the water vapor, so it cools down to a liquid - a visual reminder again that we are constantly losing water when we breathe. Now that I treat it as a healthy hydration reminder, it’s a little less fun, but all the more important.
Winter Layers Can Affect Your Hydration - While it’s tempting to meet the season’s first cold front with the warmest coat you have, heavier clothing doesn’t automatically mean better for you (no matter how cozy you might feel). Choosing to layer your clothing instead will help regulate your body’s temperature and cut down on water loss from sweating.
- The Higher The Peak, The More We Should Drink - Another sneaky truth about fall and winter hydration is connected with our hobbies. During the summer, we tend to go low: think sea level and beaches. In the winter, we head up to the mountains and peaks. At those higher altitudes, we meet lower atmospheric pressure and lower temperatures, which drives humidity levels lower, too. That dries the air, meaning we lose more water with each breath and our skin is less able to retain moisture. In short, make sure to balance out that hot cocoa by the lodge’s fireplace with a heaping glass of water.
These are just a few of our, shall we say, winter hydration hacks. How about you? Do you have any tips for tackling thirst during the colder months?