Key reasons to increase your water intake during winter Posted by Justine Clarabut on 19 December, 2022
Whatever the season, whatever climate we are in, it is essential that we drink enough water every day to maintain a healthy balance.
Being adequately hydrated is crucial to regulate our body temperature, keep our organs and cells functioning properly, protect our immune system, and lubricate our joints. As well as promoting good health, keeping hydrated also prevents the development of urinary tract infections (UTIs), kidney stones and constipation, and can benefit our sleep, cognitive function, and our mood!
During the winter months, we may not have the urge to drink water and our instincts aren’t always reliable! This is because when it is cold, the blood flow to our extremities is restricted in order to boost the flow of blood to our vital organs. This tricks the body into thinking that our fluid levels are ok but actually is giving a false water level reading! We also are less inclined to reach for a cool glass of water as we would on a hot sunny day but tend to go for warmer drinks such as tea and coffee!
Research shows that when exposed to the cold, the body’s thirst response is diminished by up to 40%1
Key reasons to drink more water during the winter months
- Just because you’re not thirsty doesn’t mean that your body is hydrated. Winter dehydration quite often goes undetected, particularly if you feel cold and are not sweating!
- Artificial heating creates dry air which can cause dehydration. This can be bad for our skin too as we go from the cold outside into a warm environment, causing chapped, cracked and dehydrated skin. Drinking more water will help your skin to glow and remove impurities from your body.
- During the winter months, we are far more susceptible to viruses and infections. Our immune systems are compromised3 if we are not adequately hydrated as we need to ensure our detoxification pathways are clear to remove foreign invaders and other waste materials. “Water is vital for the functioning of all of your organs, and it’s a huge part of keeping your immune system functioning at an optimal level,” says Dr. Jyothi Tirumalasetty, Assistant Professor of Medicine at UCLA Health “We are made of 60 percent water. If we are dehydrated, the whole system of immunity could start breaking down.” 2
- Not staying hydrated can also diminish energy levels! When you are low on fluids, your body may feel tired and weaker than usual. So beat the energy slump by drinking more water!
What is adequate hydration?
The recommended advice is to drink between 6 to 8 glasses of water a day (around 1.2 litres). However, different people need different amounts of water to be hydrated. Factors that can influence how well we are hydrated are climate, exercise intensity, health/medical conditions and how much a person perspires. One of the quickest signs to tell if you are dehydrated is the colour of your urine. The darker the colour, the more dehydrated you are! According to research, once you become thirsty, you are already dehydrated.
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Dry ‘Hydrated‘ January
January is traditionally a month when many people choose to abstain from drinking alcohol giving them the chance to reset their wellbeing following a month that many people overindulge! However, it is not just about cutting out the toxins, it is also about making sure our bodies are getting enough water and fluid to ensure we are adequately hydrated.
Drinking water may not be top of your agenda but making sure you are hydrated by introducing the simple lifestyle change to drink more water will pay dividends to your overall wellbeing. Check out some more great tips on how to keep hydrated
References and further reading