Though it may seem like solely a summertime phenomenon, dehydration can strike us during all seasons, and winter is no exception. In fact, dehydration is accelerated during the cold weather and at higher altitudes because the air we breathe is drier under these conditions. When we breathe, our bodies humidify the dry outside air and heat it up to our body’s temperature, which is why our wintery exhalations look like fog when it’s cold out. In fact, we can lose between one to two liters of water a day through evaporation from the lungs. So, since your body has to work harder to humidify the air you breathe and to warm it up, you need to drink plenty more water if you are spending time outdoors.
Aside from the weather itself, another key reason for winter dehydration is that it’s easy to skip drinking during wintertime activities since you are less likely to feel thirsty in the colder weather. As a result, the consequences of winter dehydration are much higher, since dehydration can accelerate hypothermia, frostbite or fatigue. It’s also important to mention that not only the winter athletes out there are at risk of winter dehydration– even sitting at home or in your office with cozy central heating can lead to dehydration if you’re not careful.
So how do you best avoid the effects of dehydration this winter? For starters, don’t forget how important it is to drink! Keep your bottled water or sparkling drink near you or on your desk at work, and remember to sip throughout the day. If you prefer something warmer in the colder winter months, beverages such as teas and soups will help keep you hydrated too.
For more information on how much fluid you need to stay hydrated, check out the hydration calculator. Happy winter!