Are you contemplating a change? Is it time to do something different with your health? Are you looking for a place to begin?
Your body is over 60% water and needs to remain close to that percentage in order to function properly. Your brain is 70% water. Your blood is 80% water. Your lungs are 90% water.
Maintaining proper hydration regulates body temperature, moistens tissues for mouth, eyes and nose, lubricates and cushions joints, and protects your spinal cord, organs and other sensitive tissues. Adequate hydration reduces the burden on the kidneys and liver by flushing out waste products and it also helps prevent constipation. You also need adequate water to help dissolve minerals and other nutrients to make them accessible to the body. Each person’s recommendations vary, but a general rule is to aim for about 8 cups each day.
Drinking water, especially in winter, is good for you. At this time of year, you are dealing with cold, wind, low humidity, and dry air from furnaces. If you start to feel off, drink some water. Even a 2% drop in the body’s water volume can set off dizziness, muscle cramps, fatigue, and problems focusing.
Yes, you can count all the fluids that you drink, but not all are equal. Caffeine, sugar, and salt all tend to reduce the hydration effects. Beer, wine, and alcohol also tend to dehydrate, so keep drinking water. If you are doing an intense long workout, a sport drink with electrolytes, salts, and sugar can be helpful, but for routine days, water should be your drink of choice.
Motivating Yourself to Drink Water in Cold Weather
There are plenty of other ways to drink more water during the winter months.
If a big glass of cold water does not appeal to you on a freezing day, try a hot drink. Herbal teas, green tea, fruit teas, and other coffee substitutes are ideal. Even a mug of hot chocolate can count towards your fluid intake!
Consume more water in the form of hot soups, stocks, and broths; these have the added advantage of providing lots of vitamins and minerals to help you ward off winter colds and to keep you in top condition.
Continue to eat lots of fruit and vegetables. Try hot oatmeal with fruit for breakfast. It will provide you with water and a great range of beneficial ingredients! Equally, a bowl of fresh watermelon or grapefruit will provide lots of water, as will a fresh salad.
Importance of Water in Cold Weather Exercise
The air is dryer in the winter months and with each breath you take, you are exhaling moisture, essentially dehydrating yourself. Because the air is dryer, the sweat you produce evaporates at a much quicker rate in the winter months. This gives the perception that you may not be losing a lot of moisture when in reality you are.
Do not wait until you are thirsty to drink water; at this point it is likely too late and dehydration has or is about to set in. The cold weather does not trigger the same thirst reflex that you experience in the summer so maintaining proper hydration is essential!