Keeping hydrated is something that people talk about a lot during the summer. Its hot, we sweat and a tall glass of water is incredibly appealing. But it is just as important in the winter and is frequently overlooked as an important area of well being. According to a study by the University of New Hampshire, we are prone do dehydration in the winter about the same as in hot weather. A lot of water is lost simply through breathing and perspiration. We may think that these losses are low, but we sweat under our layers and when the air is very dry, water evaporates quickly.
Being in cold weather also affects our ability to regulate fluid balance in an attempt to conserve heat. This means that when we are dehydrated, our body does not release a hormone that triggers thirst in addition to not conserving water in the kidneys, increasing water loss. Since our body is not automatically correcting, we need to be more conscious about our fluid intake. Incorporate these strategies the help prevent dehydration which can result in dry mouth, sleepiness, headaches, dry skin, constipation and dizziness.
Keep Water Available
If you don’t have any water, you aren’t going to drink it. Keep a bottle in your car, on your desk, or by your bed. This way when you do get thirsty it is nice and easy. It also serves as a physical reminder that you should have something. Even casually sipping over the day can result in an improved intake.
Drink with Meals
Always have a glass when you eat. This may also be a helpful strategy if you are trying to cut calories. It slows down your eating, helps you feel full sooner and eases digestion. You need enough fluid in your body to have comfortable bowel movements as too little can lead to constipation. Having a glass with meals also gives you 3 structured opportunities each day to help out your hydration.
Use a straw
They help you drink much faster, leading to a larger volume. It is common advice to avoid straws when drinking alcohol because of this. Due to the mindless-ness of the act, it wont feel like a chore and you can empty a water bottle pretty quickly. It also makes drinking in the car easier and less prone to spillage.
Drink Alternative Beverages
In general water is best. It is certainly better than soda or juice for hydration, but it is not the only option. Many people are so bored with water the thought of drinking 8 glasses a day is such an imposition. Unsweetened hot or iced tea is a wonderful alternative as it has frequently been linked to its own health benefits. They also come in a wide range of flavors. Pay attention to caffeine intake and drink throughout the day. You can also infuse water produce or herbs. Cucumbers, mint, berries and watermelon all make great, refreshing water that are almost calorie free. Just put your desired flavoring agents in a jug of water overnight and enjoy the next day.
Don’t forget about Exercise
Anytime you work out, remember you are losing water. Even light yoga or weight lifting should have you pre and re-hydrating. Have a glass before you work out and keep a bottle on you during. Exercise may trigger your thirst so embrace it. In addition to being healthful, it can also prevent dangerous situations. Dehydration can cause dizziness, being light headed, and having reduced coordination. All of these can lead to serious injury if you are active – think dropping your weight, falling on a treadmill or blowing out a joint due to poor form.
You never really know how much you drink throughout the day if you don’t pay attention to it. Physically tracking it, at least initially, can clue you in to whether or not you are meeting your needs. There are a ton of different methods you can try. If you track your food intake in a written food journal or online, just add in all of your beverages as well. If you carry a water bottle with you and refill it during the day, keep a sticky note by you and make a tally mark every time you finish a bottle. Or you can per-portion all of your water for the day and when its done, you know that you have reached your goal.