Many people associate dehydration with sweltering summer days, or overexertion in hot and humid climates. Dehydration isn’t limited to hot weather, however. You can still get dehydrated in cold weather. Here are some things you should know about winter dehydration, and tips to stay hydrated year-round.
Dehydration occurs when your body doesn’t have enough fluid to function properly. While there are a number of factors that affect how much water you need in a day, the average adult needs roughly 100 ounces of water on an average day.
It’s possible to get dehydrated when it’s cold outside, just like it’s possible to get dehydrated when it’s hot outside. In fact, staying hydrated during the summer months can sometimes be easier than staying hydrated in the winter.
- Some people get less thirsty in cold weather, so they drink less water in the winter than in the summer. Being less thirsty doesn’t mean that you’re better hydrated, however.
- We tend to sweat less in cold weather. Your body still loses moisture in cold weather, but without sweat as a indicator, you might not realize you need to drink water to replenish fluids.
- Since people don’t necessarily associate dehydration and cold weather, they may be less likely to make a point to stay hydrated during the winter than during the summer.
Your body loses moisture all day, every day, through respiration, perspiration, urination, and bodily function, regardless of the temperature outside. Of course, temperature can affect the rate at which you lose water. Other factors – such as activity level, diet, and your health – also affect how quickly your body loses moisture.
Tips for staying hydrated in cold weather
- It’s important to stay hydrated during colder weather. Simply remembering to drink more water can help prevent dehydration in the winter.
- Drink water and replenish fluids, especially after or during physical activity.
- Don’t rely on thirst to tell you when you need to drink water. Make a point to drink a certain amount of water each day.
- Eat your fruits and vegetables! You can get water from the foods that you eat. Not only are fruits and vegetables good for you, but they also help you stay hydrated.
- If you find it difficult to drink water when it’s cold outside, drink warm beverages like decaffienated hot tea, herbal tea, or hot cider.
- Always have water with you. A reusable water bottle can help keep you hydrated year-round. If you normally carry water with you during the summer, continue the habit through the winter.
- Avoid alcohol and caffeinated drinks that can cause dehydration.
Know the signs and symptoms of dehydration
Recognize the signs of dehydration. This can help you remember to drink more water and stay hydrated. Thirst, dark-colored urine, dizziness, fatigue, and dry skin can all indicate dehydration.