Pass the tea, please!
Most of us think of dehydration as a warm weather health risk. The sun is blazing, you’re constantly sweating and a moment doesn’t go by when your body isn’t requesting another sip of water. However, you tend to be more susceptible to dehydration in the throes of winter, according to research. Here’s why.
You don’t have as strong of a thirst response.
Even if you’re dehydrated, your body’s thirst response can decrease by up to 40 percent in cold weather. Your blood vessels constrict to pool more blood toward the core of your body for more efficient heat conservation, and your body prioritizes this automatic response over your thirst sensation. And because you don’t feel dehydrated as easily, you’re likely to consume less water during these times.
You urinate more frequently.
In warmer weather, regulating hormones tell your kidneys to conserve water to prevent dehydration, so your urine production decreases. However, those regulating hormones don’t behave the same way in cold weather, so your urine production increases and leaves you even more dehydrated than you were previously.
You lose more water just by breathing.
You know how when it’s really cold outside, you can see your breath in front of you? What you’re observing is the water vapor coming from your nose, mouth and lungs. When the water is especially chilly and dry, the amount of water vapor you lose via respiration increases dramatically compared to when you breathe on warm, humid summer days.
You sweat more even though you can’t feel it.
In the wintertime, you layer up with heavy coats, sweaters, socks, boots and more. All of those layers help you conserve heat, but they also make your body work harder than it typically does to move around. In these moments, you sweat more than you typically would, but the cold, dry elements evaporate that sweat before you even notice it’s there. This reaction is especially common when you choose to exercise outdoors in the cold. You won’t finish your run feeling soaked with sweat, but you’ll be covered in the salty remnants of all the sweat that previously evaporated off of your skin while you were moving.
With these facts in mind, pay extra attention to how much you’re drinking when the days get cold and dry. Even if you don’t feel thirsty, keep a water bottle on hand at all times and track your consumption throughout the day to make sure you’re downing at least 64 ounces of H2O. We guarantee it’ll help lift away your winter-induced brain fog, leave you feeling less sluggish and reduce your powerful cravings for all of the holiday treats.