It goes against common belief, but when the temperature dips, you’re at greater risk for dehydration than you are in warm weather. Why? Cold temperatures force your blood vessels to constrict, which drops your thirst response by up to 40 percent. And your body still needs plenty of water to keep nerves and muscles functioning at their optimal levels, even though you might not feel thirsty or dehydrated. Proper hydration also helps control body temperature, heart rate, and blood pressure. Use our cold-weather hydration guide to make sure your body is fully prepared.
Don’t Rely on Warm-Weather Cues.
Because your thirst response may be diminished in the cold—and because you aren’t sweating as much as you are in summer—you might miss important signals (like muscle cramps or fatigue) that you’re becoming dehydrated. Just as you would in summer, aim to drink a glass of water with every meal, and take frequent sips throughout the day and during exercise.
Set a Schedule.
If you find it hard to remember to drink water as regularly as you do in summer, set a schedule for yourself and commit to drinking at key times of the day, such as every two hours, or when you wake up, eat meals, and go to bed. You can also cue yourself to hydrate every time you go into a meeting, start a class, or sit down to watch television.
Warm It Up.
Icy drinks may not be as appealing when it’s cold outside, but you’ll still be hydrating if you choose warm beverages. Wrapping your hands around a mug of freshly brewed green tea is comforting on a blustery day, and a calorie-free way to boost hydration. Some people also like to start their morning with a cup of hot water with a little lemon for taste.
Eat Your Water.
Don’t forget to include water-rich foods in your diet. Some good choices are lettuce (95 percent water), grapefruit (90 percent water), broccoli (89 percent water), and yogurt (85 percent water). Warming up with a bowl of soup is another great-tasting way to hydrate.
Plain old water can get boring, so indulge with flavored and infused waters that will encourage you to drink more. Choose your favorite fruits or vegetables (try berries, cucumber, or lemon) to slice and stir into a pitcher of water. Let the flavors mingle for about two hours in the fridge. Then treat yourself to tasty water breaks all day.