Most people know that staying hydrated is vital during the warm summer months. But what about drinking enough water during the colder winter season? Here’s what you need to know about hydration when the temperatures drop.
What Does Drinking Enough Water Mean?
You’ve probably heard the “eight glasses a day” recommendation for staying hydrated. For some people, this might be a sufficient amount. However, for others, they might need more. According to the Mayo Clinic, it has been determined that good daily fluid intake is:
- Around 15.5 cups for men
- Around 11.5 cups for women
This includes fluids from not only water but also other beverages and food. Most people don’t realize that around 20 percent of fluid intake comes from the foods they eat. So, that would mean about nine cups of beverages for women and about 12 cups for men. While this can include other drinks, it’s best to focus on water or mostly-water drinks like herbal teas.
The Importance of Staying Hydrated When It’s Cold
Every day, humans lose water by simply existing. When we sweat, breath, and go to the bathroom, we lose liquid. It’s important to replenish this fluid each day. Otherwise, we can become hydrated.
The symptoms of dehydration include headaches, fatigue, constipation, and even sugar cravings. Being dehydrated can also leave you with brain fog and make it hard to focus throughout the day. It’s easier to notice yourself losing water when it’s hot, such as when you sweat from being outside in the summer.
But when it’s colder outside, you might forget that drinking enough water is still essential. You still lose water every day, and forgetting to stay hydrated can make it harder to function during the winter months (which can be stressful and draining enough on their own).
Water can also help increase alertness during low-energy periods and break up mucus when you’re sick, which is more common during the winter months.
Related: 6 Tips for Beating the Holiday Blues
How to Drink Enough Water This Winter
Now that you understand hydration is necessary during any season, here are some ways to ensure you drink enough:
- Drink some water before, during, and after any sort of exercise.
- If you feel tired, hungry, or unfocused, consider whether you’ve had any fluids recently. You might be experiencing winter dehydration symptoms.
- With each meal, have a glass of water.
- Carry a water bottle with you if you travel outside of the house a lot.
- If you get bored with water, consider other beverages like 100 percent fruit juices, herbal teas, milk, and (in moderation) black coffees and teas.
Don’t forget about foods that are hydrating, too! Many fruits and vegetables contain a high percentage of water. Those include:
- Blueberries and raspberries
If you do intense exercise during the winter months, sports drinks can help replenish electrolytes you lose through sweating.
Can You Drink Too Much Water During the Winter?
On the opposite end of drinking enough water, it is possible to drink too much water. If you intake so much water that your kidneys can’t get rid of the excess, it’s known as hyponatremia, and it is serious. This occurs when the sodium in your blood becomes too diluted. However, hyponatremia is uncommon and rare in healthy adults who are not serious athletes.
The Bottom Line
During winter, drinking enough water is just one more way you can care for your body. Keep yourself hydrated, focus on nourishing foods, and remember to breathe as you power through this holiday season.