Hydration in the winter isn't as easy as "just drink more water." As a health-conscious person, you know the importance of staying hydrated, but did you know winter is different? Here's why it takes more effort in the winter and what you can do to stay hydrated even in the cold weather.
Hydration in the winter gets tricky for several reasons
In cold weather, we actually lose more fluids through expiratory losses. When we breathe in cold air and see our breath, that's a signal that we are losing moisture from our body. When exercising outside in the elements (walking, Nordic skiing, fat biking, snowshoeing, running), hydration demands increase from exertion and breathing the cold air.
The body's thirst mechanism naturally reminds us to consume more liquids. And yet, when it is colder out, many individuals go for extended periods without water because they don't feel thirsty. Lack of thirst keeps us from remembering to keep liquids handy, which quickly leads to poor hydration in the winter.
During warmer seasons, our body sweats to cool the skin and regulate the body's internal temperature. Sweat also serves as a reminder to rehydrate. Without this visual reminder in the winter, we may not remember to drink.
Cold-weather hydration tips
If you forget to drink fluids, consider setting a custom reminder to prompt yourself to hydrate. You can set up custom reminders on the MyNetDiary iPhone or Android app by going to Settings, then Virtual Coach. Access this feature with a Premium membership.
Start your day with a large cup of water. I work with many clients who drink a cup of water in the morning BEFORE they drink coffee or tea. It helps them meet their hydration goal instead of waiting until hours later when they begin to feel thirsty.
Eat a diet rich in vegetables. Vegetables are full of water. Consuming veggies such as celery, lettuce, cucumber, zucchini, radish, tomato, and cabbage will help you stay hydrated in the winter or summer without adding many calories.
If you don't care for the taste of plain water, experiment with fruit-infused water. Chop up some fruit and add the chunks to a large pitcher of water for a refreshing beverage.
Try some herbal tea. Here's a DIY herbal tea from Allrecipes. It has one tablespoon of honey in the recipe for an entire quart of water. This translates to 2g of carb for an 8-ounce cup.
Try soup for lunch. Low sodium, broth-based soups make for a comforting meal. Having some soup for lunch will help you fill up and stay hydrated.
Convenience is key. Carry a water bottle or thermos of a low-calorie beverage with you. Keeping healthy drinks close by will make it easier to stay on top of your hydration.
Winter drink ideas that use the extra calories you saved up
You can easily keep track of your fluid intake on your dashboard in MyNetDiary's web or mobile apps. All non-alcoholic beverages count toward your daily water requirement. For example, if you drink a cup of tea, tap one glass icon. Unless you specify otherwise, the default size of the glass is 8 fluid ounces (237 ml).
Other resources to help meet your hydration goals in the winter