Hydration is Key for Winter Too: 10 Reasons Why
During the hotter months, public announcements seem to be everywhere explaining the importance of staying hydrated. In case you happened to avoid the warnings, we need to take on water while the weather is hot because we lose significantly more than normal through sweat. However, we seem to just abandon these same rules during the winter when hydration is just as important. Today, we want to explain 10 reasons why this is true!
Before digging too deeply though, we should quash a misconception that ‘it’s only important to take on liquids when exercising in the winter’. During the colder months, the air tends to be drier and the lower humidity means that our bodies need hydration. Whether you’re sitting in the office, cooking dinner at home, or walking the dog, stay hydrated and don’t ignore the signs your body is sending.
Without further ado, here are the promised 10 reasons!
Your Body ALWAYS Needs Water – Regardless of the season, water is pivotal to our survival and the consequences of not drinking water can be devastating. Soon enough, the digestive system won’t be able to function correctly and this will then be joined by the nervous, cardiovascular, and the various other systems of our body.
Without water, the cells hold onto whatever liquid they can get and this causes bloating and discomfort. Therefore, it’s important to keep the body hydrated for cell function and this is true throughout the calendar year.
Boost Your Metabolism – It’s colder outside and the pull of sitting by the fire and eating chocolate is stronger than ever. Well, water can not only increase metabolism but also reduce your appetite when consumed before a meal. Often, people write off the winter when it comes to their diet but this doesn’t have to be the case.
The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism once carried out a study which showed how appetite can reduce after drinking two glasses of water before a meal. This, combined with the boosted metabolism, will be extremely helpful when trying to keep off the ‘Christmas weight’.
Boost Your Immune System – While we’re on the topic of boosting things, you can give your immune system a helping hand. Why is this important? After spending most of winter inside to get away from the cold, it becomes easier to catch the flu and other illnesses from others. When dehydrated, often caused by the dry air, our immune system struggles to fight bugs.
As you’ve probably guessed, the solution to this is to drink water. With more water in your body, it’ll thank you by increasing your chances of staying healthy through the season.
Keep Your Healthy Habits – Why do people find it so hard to stick to their diets during winter? Unfortunately, the cold weather has a double-effect because we move around much less and crave junk food. Remember we said earlier not to ignore the signs your body is sending? It’s also important not to misread them and this is what many people do by feeding their bodies when all it really needs is some water. By staying hydrated, you remove thirst and therefore the likelihood of misreading this thirst for hunger. As we all know, one high-calorie ‘treat’ can quickly lead to another.
Dehydration is Hard to Spot – It’s easy to know when our bodies need water in the summer, right? We have to walk around the office with sweat stains on our clothing and we crave a cold shower after work. However, dehydration becomes less noticeable in the winter. Of course, it’s still possible to sweat in the cold weather but all the layers we wear hide it (and much of it can actually be absorbed by the dry air!). We always advise a proactive approach to consuming water in the winter, and this will keep you nicely hydrated.
Improve Your Performance – We should all know by now that there’s a connection between athletic performance and being hydrated. If you like to stay fit in the cold weather, water will be your friend. For athletes, a profession where everything is measured in margins and even a fraction of a second can make a difference, they’ll tell you that water consumption is pivotal.
We’re not saying you need to be training for the next Olympic Games to benefit from water, but it will help you to operate at peak efficiency. Suddenly, you’ll see a boost to your motivation, endurance, and muscle fatigue. Without enough water, your performance is likely to take a hit and the likelihood of injury increases somewhat. Just like summer, we recommend drinking before and after exercise as well as during.
Improve Skin Health – If you’re wondering what causes dry skin in the winter, it’s commonly the central heating systems we all use to stay warm. Rather than putting up with dry skin, chapped lips, and cracked fingers, actively drink more water and your skin cells will stay healthy through the season. With enough water, it’s also possible to rid the body of all impurities. This is important because, without water, the impurities only have one route out of your body; the pores. Over time, this can cause blemishes unless treated with various lotions and cleansing products. Rather than treating a symptom, why not treat the cause with water?
Adapt to Conditions – Just like the summer, your body will need to adapt to the cold, dry air that seems to be in abundance during the winter. As we breathe this air in, the body is forced to work harder; for example, the lungs attempt to heat and humidify the air. When at high altitudes, this process only becomes more intense so skiers and the like will notice how little energy they have after short periods on the slopes. To prevent this, and help your body keep working, you’ll need to take in healthy amounts of water.
Boost Energy Levels – Back to the ‘boosting’ and it is energy levels this time, and we all know the feeling of wanting to sit all night under a thick blanket. While we don’t see anything wrong with this on the odd occasion, it soon becomes a problem if you’re doing it due to a lack of energy. The University of Connecticut completed a study to assess the relationship between mood/energy and water consumption. To nobody’s surprise, both energy and mood levels reduced even with ‘mild’ dehydration.
If you’re finding you have to sit down for a while to recuperate energy, we recommend increasing your water intake. Not only can dehydration cause tiredness and headaches, it can also impact concentration and this is where it starts to affect work. If in doubt, stick to the rule of eight glasses of water per day (minimum). If exercising, increase this amount!
Keep the Warmth – Finally, we tend to turn to hot chocolate, tea, or coffee when we’re cold because, well, it seems logical to warm our bodies from the inside, right? You may be surprised to hear that water is the most effective way to keep your body warm (despite how counter-intuitive it may sound!). Without water, the core temperature will fall and this can be dangerous when outside for prolonged periods of time; unfortunately, it can lead to hypothermia in severe cases.
If your area is experiencing severe winter conditions, we advise drinking the water at room temperature because this will allow it to work instantly. If the water is too cold, the body will burn energy bringing the temperature down to a useable level.
Some Parting Advice…
By this point, you should feel comfortable telling all your friends and family members why drinking water is important in the winter. To finish, we want to provide some parting advice for those who dislike water and can’t stand the thought of drinking a minimum of eight glasses per day.
#1: The ‘bland’ taste that people often suggest can be improved with some fruit (add a little citrus or strawberry) or even a slice of cucumber.
#2: Supermarkets now offers plenty of water flavorings which can improve the taste. An even better natural option, tryTruth Nutrition Vegan BCAAs. Not only will you become hydrated, you'll fuel your muscles for any wintertime activities.
#3: For a subtler flavor, why not make special mint or fruit ice cubes?
There we have it, ten reasons why water is important in winter and some advice to make water taste a little better. Thanks for reading, and go have a glass of water on us!
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