We think about hydration on a hot day and are especially aware of our potential for dehydration when we hike, bike or engage in other outdoor activities in the warm summer sun. But what about on a cold winter day when we are bundled up to enjoy the snow, staying indoors to hide from the elements, or worse, when we are suffering from cold or flu and using medications or decongestants? The colder air may not remind you to consume fluids and you may not feel thirsty the same way you do on a hot summer day, but you are still at risk of dehydration even when the temperature drops.
Dry air, bundled layers, medications and physical activity outdoors or in a gym can all contribute to dehydration in the winter. If you don’t think that you are consuming enough fluids, then use these tips to maintain hydration during the winter months.
Beyond water bottles
Bulky layers and gloves needed for outdoor winter sports make storing and opening water bottles challenging. Look for soft sided water bottles that fit easily into a pocket or consider an insulated water pack. Convenient items like these make you more likely to drink throughout the day.
Chicken soup is not just for the soul
On a cold day or when illness strikes, seek low-sodium soup for hydrating broth, which is effective at preventing dehydration. Also, look beyond water and seek a variety of low/no calorie fluids, including warm tea or coffee, which research shows is not dehydrating like we once believed. Lastly, remember that the fluid found in fruit and vegetables with high water content contribute to your fluid intake for the day.
Water for your workout
Fluid intake before, during and after a workout is critically important for preventing dehydration. Use the guidelines from the American Council on Exercise to ensure you are meeting your fluid needs. If hydration beyond water is needed, pass on traditional sports drinks, which are often loaded with sugar and go for Guiding Stars rated coconut water instead.
Hydration as a health goal
Consider making hydration one of your priorities for 2015. Follow this advice from Guiding Stars Scientific Advisor Kit Broihier and keep it fun with these delicious drinks and fluid rich recipes!