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Believe it or not, the cold weather brings its own dehydration dangers. That's right! Like in the summer, you can get dehydrated in the winter — though for different reasons, of course.
According to cold weather researchers at the University of New Hampshire, cold alters our thirst sensation. When we're subjected to colder temperatures, our body pulls blood from the extremities to the core to stay warm, which tricks the brain into thinking there are more fluids available and dampens the thirst sensation. In fact, our thirst sensation diminishes by up to 40 percent.
This becomes even more of an issue with exercise or strenuous work in cold weather. So if you're doing either one — or both — of those things, be extra vigilant about keeping yourself hydrated. Here are 10 tips to help you do just that:
1. Drink Before You're Thirsty
This may seem obvious, but it's worth mentioning because thirst is a late sign of dehydration. By the time you feel thirsty, you're already dehydrated. So, a good rule of thumb is to drink small sips of water regularly throughout the day, even if you don't feel thirsty.
2. Ensure You're Getting Your Electrolytes
Electrolytes are minerals that help regulate the body's hydration levels and are essential for proper muscle and nerve function. When we sweat, we lose electrolytes and water, which is why it's necessary to replenish them by drinking beverages like sports drinks or coconut water. You can also take electrolyte pills or powder as a convenient way to get your electrolytes without carrying around a lot of drinks.Electrolyte Powder Packets Make Hydration Easy
3. Give Yourself Some Variety
Water isn't for everyone, especially if you're trying to drink a lot of it throughout the day. If plain water doesn't appeal to you, try flavoring it with slices of fruit or adding some bubbles with a soda stream. Another option is to drink unsweetened herbal teas or smoothies. Make sure whatever you're drinking doesn't have too much sugar, as that can contribute to dehydration.
4. Limit Alcohol Intake
'Tis the season for holiday parties, get-togethers with family and friends, and New Year's celebrations. But all that alcohol can quickly lead to dehydration, so it's essential to limit your intake and alternate alcoholic drinks with water, especially if you're spending time outdoors. Instead, try reaching for beverages like sparkling water and seltzer with fruit juice, which will help you stay hydrated while still enjoying the festive season.
5. Eat Water-Rich Foods
The foods we associate with being water-rich — watermelon and cucumber — might not be in season or tempt your palate during the winter. But you can eat plenty of other water-rich foods to help keep yourself hydrated, like soups, stews, and chili. And don't forget about fruits and vegetables like oranges, apples, spinach, carrots, and broccoli, which are also high in water content. The added bonus is that these foods are nutrient-rich when prepared properly, helping immune health and overall wellness during winter.
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6. Use a Humidifier
Winter can be dry, and this takes a toll on our bodies. One of the main reasons why people use humidifiers in winter is to help with skin health. And running a humidifier can also help reduce sinus infections, relieve congestion and coughing, ease nasal passage discomfort, and prevent dehydration. But it also has an overall positive effect on your body's hydration levels. By helping your skin and mucous membranes stay moist, humidifiers help reduce water loss and keep your body hydrated.Replenish Your System With Electrolyte Pills
7. Drink Before, During, and After Traveling
Whether you're flying or driving long distances this winter, it's important to stay hydrated by drinking fluids before, during, and after travel. The elevation change when flying can cause dehydration, as can sitting for long periods. And if you're traveling by car in cold weather, the dry air from the heater can further contribute to dehydration. So make sure to pack enough water or other beverages for your trip, take breaks often to stretch your legs, and have a drink — of water, and lay off the booze. Keeping some electrolyte powder packets on hand will also allow you to make a quick drink if you start to feel dehydrated without resorting to the sugary sports drinks you'll find at many gas stations and rest stops.
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8. Check Your Urine Color
Your urine is a good indicator of how hydrated you are. You're well-hydrated if it's clear, light yellow, or straw-colored. You need to drink more fluids if it's dark yellow or amber-colored. So keep this simple saying in mind, "If you pee clear, cheer!"
9. Be Proactive About Hydration
In addition to increasing fluid intake during winter sports or keeping hydrated during travel, it's also important to be proactive about hydration in your everyday life. This means paying attention to how much water you're drinking, ensuring you're getting enough, and pivoting when changes in your lifestyle or habits occur. For example, many people renew their commitment to health and fitness around New Year's and, as a result, develop issues like the keto flu. This is simply a case of dehydration due to a change in diet and exercise habits, so it's essential to be conscious of how this might affect your hydration levels and use keto electrolyte powder to ensure you're getting enough electrolytes.
10. Know the Signs of Dehydration
Lastly, because dehydration can sneak up on you, it's important to know the signs and symptoms so you can address them quickly. These include things like thirst, fatigue, lightheadedness, dizziness, dry mouth, headache, and constipation. If you experience any of these, drink some fluids immediately. If the symptoms persist or become severe, seek medical attention.
Final Word on Winter Hydration
Staying hydrated during winter is essential for your health and well-being. By following the tips above, you can ensure you're getting enough fluids to stay hydrated all season long. And if you find yourself struggling with dehydration, try using an electrolyte powder to help you rehydrate quickly and efficiently. With some planning and effort, staying hydrated during winter will be a breeze.