When it's cold out, you might not feel thirsty. You sweat less in cooler temps as well. So how much water do you need to drink in the winter months? John Smith, MBA, MSEd, ATC, LAT, director of Lake Health Sports Medicine, explains:
One of the best things you can do for your health is drink water. In the summer, it’s easy to feel the need for water to keep your body running smoothly. However, it’s just as important to stay hydrated in winter to keep our body systems functioning right. Here's why hydration is important:
- Aids in digestion. With warming comfort foods and holiday treats, drinking enough water is important to aid in proper digestion and the distribution of nutrients throughout the body.
- Supports active living. When we’re active, the body needs more water to sustain its systems - this rule continues to apply when you exercise indoors during the winter months. Don't forget that many common winter activities–like shoveling or trekking through heavy snow wearing boots–can be strenuous exercise.
- Replaces sweat lost through winter wardrobes. We expend more energy with heavier clothing and sweat evaporates quickly in cold weather so we don’t notice the continued loss of body fluid.
How much water?
On average, you should aim to drink 8 glasses of water a day and increase that by 3 to 4
glasses when you’re more physically active. These fluid intake recommendations are just as important in winter as in summer, and it’s important to increase the amount when being physically active in cold weather. If you find it hard to drink more fluids, try adding flavoring to your water or enjoying the occasional sports drink when staying active. Carrying a reusable water bottle can help remind you to hydrate, too.
How can you tell if you're hydrated?
Tracking the color of your urine is an easy way to check your hydration - it will be light yellow or almost clear if you’re adequately hydrated.