Health Matters | Tips to Stay Hydrated This Winter

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Tips to Stay Hydrated This Winter

Scarf. Gloves. Snow boots. Water bottle. One of these things is not like the others, but it is just as important. When the sun is shining on a hot summer day, packing a bottle of water is part of the routine. But in winter, it is sometimes forgotten. The truth is you need just as much water in winter as you do during the steamy summer months.

You may miss the warning signs of dehydration in winter because your body does not sweat as much during this time of year. Nearly 70% of your body is made up of water. If you don’t keep it replenished, you could suffer exhaustion, muscle fatigue, cramps, loss of coordination or even stroke.

Do you want the flu to bring you down this time of year? Of course not. So drink plenty of water, because dehydration makes you an easy target for colds and flu.

Bundling up this time of year can also make us sweat more than usual when it’s time to get active. Since we dress in layers with turtlenecks and sweaters, our bodies work harder (by sweating) to cool us down. Shoveling snow, skiing, ice-skating, sledding or even building a snowman can be just as strenuous as summer activities. We work up a healthy sweat, and all of that lost water must be replaced.

Don’t think that you lose as much water during the winter? Take a look at your breath when you walk outside on a cold day. All of that steam is water vapor escaping your body with each breath.

How much water do you need to drink every day during the winter? The bottom line is that we are all different and have different activity levels during the winter, so only you know how much water you need every day.

How can you tell if you getting enough liquids? If you feel thirsty your body is already partially dehydrated. Another sign can be found in the bathroom. Yes, we went there. If your urine is clear or light-colored, you are doing fine. If it is yellow, then it’s time for more water.

Here are some tips to keep you hydrated this winter:
  • Drink before, during, and after exercise. You may not sweat as much or feel as thirsty as you do during the summer, but keep drinking.
  • Drink half of your body weight in fluid ounces every day. A 120 pound woman should drink 60 ounces of water per day.
  • Balance diuretics with water. Diuretics (like alcohol and caffeine) cause more water loss through urine.
  • Eat more water-based foods like soup, fruits, and vegetables. They are a great source of hydration and nutrients.
  • Reduce the amount of sodium in your diet.

If you need one more reason to stay hydrated this time of year, here you go: Too little water makes it tougher to keep off extra pounds. Since we all tend to eat more during the winter, a well hydrated body can help control your appetite and break down fat for energy more efficiently. You’ll be happy you hydrated when swimsuit season rolls around!

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