Summer is synonymous with infernal temperatures, buckets of sweat, and insatiable thirst. Winter, on the other hand, evokes images of snow capped mountains, cozy down jackets, and steaming hot beverages. Every year from November to February, our bodies deceive us into thinking hydration is somehow less essential just because we’re not sweltering or begging for refreshment. But nothing could be further from the truth. Winter dehydration is the real deal, even if the risk factors seem less obvious. Keep reading for the scoop on why you may be dehydrated in colder temps:
1. Increased Respiratory Water Loss
Winter or summer, cold or hot, we’re constantly excreting water as we breathe. Think back to a time when it was so cold that you could see your own breath. That steamy plume was actually water vapor escaping through your mouth. Don’t let the novelty of these visible gusts leave you foggy on the facts: the icier the weather, the more hydration you lose with each exhale.
Hitting the slopes? Keep in mind that high altitudes will compound existing moisture loss from cold, dry air. The Mayo Clinic recommends overcompensating by drinking extra fluids at higher elevations.
2. The Weight of Winter Clothing
There’s something so cozy about bundling up to face another blustery day in a wooly suit of armor. On the other hand, layering all that clothing under a pillowy puffer can leave you feeling like the Michelin Man and sweating like you just ran a mile. If we’ve told you once, we’ve told you a million times that sweat means fluid loss and fluid loss can lead to dehydration. That’s not to say you should ditch the snow suit, but remember to hydrate and opt for breathable layers when possible.
3. Sweat Evaporates Faster
While we’re on the subject of sweat, let’s talk about perspiration evaporation. Summer exercise comes with lots and lots of sweat. Run a mile in hot, muggy weather and you’re drenched. But run a mile in cold, dry weather and you’re… not? Winter doesn’t stop you from sweating, but it does speed up the rate at which your sweat evaporates. You’re still losing fluids that need to be replenished. Therefore, if feeling soggy is your usual reminder to rehydrate, it’s time to up your game.
4. Decreased Thirst Response
As you may already know, feeling parched is a sign that our bodies need more fluids. But sometimes, life gets in the way and thirst becomes the reminder we need to drink up. If this is you, then falling behind on hydration could be especially dangerous when temperatures drop. Research suggests that cold weather can impair the body’s ability to experience thirst by up to 40 percent. In other words, don’t wait until you’re thirsty to hydrate in the wintertime.
5. Frequent Urination
Also known as “cold-induced diuresis,” the science behind why we pee more often in frigid conditions is still not fully understood. However, according to WebMD, cold weather can trigger blood vessels to constrict in an effort to regulate body temperature. This can increase blood pressure, and signal our kidneys to expel more liquid from the body. Long story short: your struggle to stay warm is your bladder’s moment to shine.
Understanding the root of winter dehydration is the first step to defeating it. Step two? Take action! Warm beverages can be just as hydrating as their on-the-rocks counterparts. Check two boxes at once: heat up a mug of Lemon Lime Hydration Multiplier and enjoy with a lemon wedge! You’ll exhale a (visible) sigh of relief knowing you’re one step closer to stopping winter dehydration in its snowy tracks.
Written by Cleo Gold