Chances are, you’ve heard plenty about the importance of hydration while working out in the warm summer months. But staying hydrated isn’t just of seasonal importance.
Proper hydration is just as essential during the winter, for the same reasons that dehydration can wreak havoc with your well-being — from affecting your heart rate and kidney function to a variety of other serious health issues.
COLD WEATHER HYDRATION
It’s easy to think about proper hydration when you’re sweating a lot and feeling thirsty in hot weather. But your thirst response — and how much you sweat — can be different in the fall and winter, which causes you to drink less than you need to stay well-hydrated.
And even if it is cold outside, your body still loses plenty of water through sweating and evaporation.
A good point to remember is that winter dehydration is more apt to catch us off guard because people aren’t expecting it, or worried about its risks as they are in the summer. There are other factors that contribute to cold-weather dehydration:
- Breathing cold, dry air causes the body to lose significant amounts of fluid.
- Sweat turns to vapor when you perspire in cold weather and isn’t directly on our skin as it is in warm weather. In turn, that takes away a visual cue for you to drink.
- In the winter, many people don’t have a bottle of water handy because of the fact that they don’t feel thirst as acutely as they do in warm weather.
- People tend to drink warmer, caffeinated drinks in the winter, which causes increased urination – which can lead to dehydration.
- Your chances of dehydration are increased when you work out in cold weather and at higher altitudes. Your lungs need to work harder to humidify and warm that air up (the humidified air is why you see “fog” in cold air every time you breathe).
- You sweat even more when you’re wrapped in layers of clothing that keep you warm during cold weather activities. This causes you to sweat more profusely.
COLD WEATHER SPEEDS UP DEHYDRATION
During colder weather, your body’s natural response is to constrict the blood vessels on your toes and finger to conserve blood volume and warmth for your core. Blood flow is increased to your kidneys, which make them respond with increased urination.
STAY HYDRATED — NO MATTER THE SEASON
Your hydration needs to remain the same in winter whether you’re working out indoors or outdoors. It’s important to drink the same amount of water as you would any time of the year, including summer. One way to ensure that you’re remaining properly hydrated is by setting a water goal and sticking to it throughout the day.
The Amarillo Town Club has something to help everyone achieve their fitness and wellness goals, from personal trainers, state-of-the-art equipment, group classes, to a full-scale aquatics program.