25 June, 2020
Staying hydrated over winter
Approximate reading time: 2 minutes
It can be difficult to stay hydrated when it’s cold.
Increasing our water intake during the winter months can be hard. This is especially true when our usual dehydration cues such as sweating, heavy breathing and feeling hot aren’t as common as they are in summer.
Our thirst response can also change during winter, so it can be a challenge to see the signs.
Staying hydrated is just as important in winter as it is in summer.
In winter, we usually stay indoors blasting the heater or are outside in harsher conditions. These temperature fluctuations can contribute to dehydration.
Every day of the year, fluid intake assists with:
- Maintaining our energy levels
- Keeping our core temperature stable
- Preventing our skin from drying out
- Supporting a healthy immune system
Tips to stay hydrated in cooler weather
Here are a few suggestions to keep fluid intake up over the winter months.
- Make hydration a winter routine by drinking one glass of water in the morning and one at night when you brush your teeth. Regardless of your activity levels or how cold it is during the day, putting this in your routine and creating a habit will help with keeping your fluids up.
- Mindful drinking and eating. Although we may not feel as thirsty, our bodies still require adequate daily hydration. It is common to mistake thirst for hunger, and overeating can occur during the colder months. In fact, hydration assists our body in keeping our core temperature stable, so reaching for a glass of water instead of a snack may be what your body really needs. Practising mindfulness techniques and stopping, reflecting and having a glass of water is key.
- Warm up your fluids. Hot or warm drinks such as decaffeinated teas can be more appealing than cold water from the tap. Just make sure to keep these to around 2-3 a day, without adding milk or sugar. Even hot water with a squeeze of lemon, lime or orange can do the trick!
- Rehydrate after exercise. Although we may not get as sweaty outdoors in winter, whilst exercising, our body is still using a lot of our fluids to rehydrate and recover. Support your muscles with water in recovery, pre- and post-workout. Sip gradually to avoid feeling bloated from too much fluid in one go.
- Drink your food! Some foods contain higher amounts of fluids than others. If you’re not too keen on drinking water during the day, increasing your intake of fruit and vegetables such as cucumber, tomato, grapes and berries can increase your fluid intake. Warm and nutritious soups and broths also increase fluid intake.
- Keep your hydration handy by having a bottle of water at your desk, in your car and in your bag. Small sips throughout the day can be easier and less challenging than larger amounts.
- Hydration is just as important in winter as it is in summer.
- Dehydration can be mistaken for hunger.
- Little changes really add up so add an extra glass of water to the start and end of your day to get started.
About the Author
Alex Sherman - Accredited Practicing Dietitian & Accredited Nutritionist
Alex is an Accredited Practicing Dietitian and Nutritionist. She's crazy passionate about nutrition - even to have studied for over 6 years at university, including post-graduate studies in FODMAP Diet for irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). She offers clear and practical advice tailored to your health goals.