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Sharp Health News

Can you get dehydrated in cold weather?

Feb. 8, 2017

Can you get dehydrated in cold weather?

During the winter, you may not seem to sweat as much as in the summer, but that doesn’t lessen one’s risk of dehydration. We tend to think of staying hydrated as a summertime concern; however, hydration is just as important during the cooler months.

“Being well-hydrated can lower the risk of winter-weather illnesses, improve your performance and recovery from activity, and keep your skin and lips from drying out,” says Megan Spurling, manager of Sharp HealthCare’s employee wellness program, Sharp Best Health.

Spurling suggests these five tips for staying hydrated during the winter.

Don’t rely on thirst as an indicator.
This is true in the hotter months as well, but you can experience a diminished thirst response during colder months, making it an even less reliable signal of dehydration. Instead, make it a habit to drink at least one glass of water before each meal.

Warm it up.
Warm up your morning commute. Take a tumbler full of tea or hot water with lemon when you leave the house for the day. Drinking these beverages will do more than keep you warm; it will also help you consume more water.

Think outside the glass.
Fruits, vegetables and even soup are a natural source of water, along with valuable vitamins and minerals.

Hot beverages count.
During cooler weather, the idea of drinking lots of cold water may not be very enticing. To make it more appealing, try warm, decaf teas and hot cocoa.

Adjust for altitude.
The likelihood of dehydration accelerates when you train in cold weather and higher altitudes. In these conditions, the air you breathe is drier, and the lungs have to work harder to humidify that air and warm it up. The harder your body works, the more you need to drink.

“Hydration might feel like a summertime topic, but it can impact your health and performance just as much in the winter,” explains Spurling. “Err on the side of more water, decaf beverages and water-based foods when the weather gets chilly to keep feeling great.”

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