Winter Hydration - Notes from our MAC Registered Dietitian:
It’s especially easy to get dehydrated in the winter months. Here are some common causes of wintertime dehydration you may not know:
We don’t get as thirsty! Our thirst response is diminished because our blood vessels constrict when we are cold. This also prevents blood from flowing to our extremities, concentrating it in the core and increasing urine output further adding to dehydration.
We wear too many clothes! Whether it’s to show off the latest fashion trend or just to stay warm, wearing extra clothing such as heavy coats, sweaters, etc. causes our bodies to conserve heat but also makes our bodies work harder and causes us to sweat more frequently, increasing fluid loss.
We breathe too much! Cold weather causes us to breath harder, therefore causing us to lose more fluid (vapor) as we breath, either during exercise or even by just going outside. That festive ‘vapor breath’ you see in the cold weather is actually fluid loss from our bodies.
We sweat more! Wait… what? Sweat evaporates faster in cold air. We tend to think we are not sweating in cold air. But we really are. It just evaporates fast so it looks and feels like we are not.
Signs of Dehydration
- Muscle cramps
- Feeling groggy, slow or having “brain fog”
- Feeling chronically cold
- Very dry and itchy skin
- When exercising in the clod, use room temperature water to hydrate so you body warms up faster.
- Drink 8oz of water every 30-45 min. while exercising. This is a general recommendation, so consult your physician or dietitian for your specific needs.
- Eat well - stay away from salty and processed foods which absorb moisture. Choose moisture restoring foods like fruits and vegetables or broth based soups.
- Avoid excess alcohol and caffeine, both of which are diuretics and will contribute to dehydration.
- Use a humidifier. Just like it sounds, this can help put moisture back into the air… and in to your body.