Pro Tips For Staying Hydrated This Winter
Most of us are well-aware of the recommendation to drink eight 8 oz. glasses of water per day, but if we’re being honest, this feels a little easier in the heat of the summer.
In the winter, when we’re all bundled up, drinking enough water isn’t quite as appealing — but it’s every bit as important.
We spoke to our very own James Wells, NASM Certified Personal Trainer at Columbia Gym, about the reasons proper hydration is so important, as well as some creative workarounds to make it easier in the cold winter months.
What’s the big deal about H20?
So, why is getting enough water so important to your health? Beyond just quenching your thirst, it lubricates your joints, helps your body maintain a normal temperature and aids in waste removal. It also keeps your cognition clear, since dehydration can lead to foggy thinking, much like hunger.
Dehydration can also contribute to an increased appetite, which means cravings for foods that are high in salt and carbohydrates.
“When you’re dehydrated, your body’s natural reaction is to retain as much water as possible,” says Wells. “Salt and carbohydrates each cause your body to retain water, so that’s why a dehydrated body craves these foods. The next time you’re craving potato chips or pretzels, try to drink a glass of water and wait about 20 minutes. You may just find that the craving disappears.”
It’s also worth a mention that drinking enough water is key for fresh, lit-from-within skin. 30% of your skin is made up of water, so adequate water intake is what keeps it elastic (aka, less prone to wrinkling). The skin is water’s last stop, since it reaches the other organs first…which is all the more reason not to skimp on your eight glasses a day!
Tips for drinking more water
Cold weather isn’t the only obstacle for our winter water intake. Often, the stress and business of the holiday season can lead us to consume higher levels of caffeine, while all the festivities also call for more alcohol consumption than usual. Unfortunately, both of these dehydrate you, and only serve to exacerbate the dry skin and chapped lips that so many of us bemoan in the winter.
The easiest way to keep yourself in check is to make a habit of having a full glass of water within reach (it will be even easier if you use a water bottle you love!). Doing so also encourages you to take frequent breaks from sitting, which is great for keeping your blood flowing even if your workday is pretty sedentary.
To stay on track, consider setting a reminder on your phone, using an app like Aqualert, or embracing a marked water bottle to see how many ounces you’ve consumed. Aim for drinking 4 oz. every 30 minutes.
If you’re just not crazy about the taste of plain water, not to worry. There’s plenty of ways to make it more enticing. Add flavor with a splash of fruit juice (2 oz. per 6 oz. of water), or a drink additive like Mio. You can also infuse cucumbers, lemons, limes or mint leaves to make hydration feel like a spa-like experience. Non-caffeinated herbal tea is another great option, especially in sweater weather.
“There’s no shame in adding flavor to your water. In fact, that sense of flavor makes your brain crave it more, so it’s a great idea,” says Wells. “Just make sure your sources of flavor don’t add sugar or caffeine.”
Another great way to keep yourself hydrated is to eat foods rich in electrolytes, which help your body absorb fluids. Foods such as nuts, spinach, bananas, Greek yogurt and avocados are all great choices.
“Still thirsty no matter how much you drink? The problem may not be dehydration. If your electrolyte balance is off and your sodium is high, this can happen because the sodium causes you to retain the water. Eating foods rich in potassium, like a banana or nuts, can help free up the water!” -James Wells
Enhance your wellness with CA
Cheers to staying hydrated this winter! If you’re interested in taking your health and wellness a step further, CA’s three fitness clubs offer plenty of options, from state-of-the-art equipment to group fitness classes to personal training programs. Learn more on our website.