Winter HydrationNov 29, 2023
Last summer we sent out a series of emails about the importance of hydration habits. From the number of responses we received, hydration is a topic of interest!
Six months later we are heading into winter. This is a good time to revisit these practices. Different season, same issue, but with some different challenges.
This time of year, we spend more time indoors with the heat on. Thank goodness for our heating systems, but the artificially warmed air is dryer and so more dehydrating.
Couple this with the cooler weather which means you may not be as attuned to the need to hydrate. When you are hot and sweaty, you know you need water. But you need water in winter too.
Lots of my patients come in this time of year and mention “My skin has been dryer the past few weeks.” My first question is: “Are you drinking less water?” Usually, the answer is “Well, now that you mention it, yes!”
A reminder of the basic hydration equation: Your body weight in pounds divided in half = the number of ounces of water to aim for each day. Adjust up according to your activity levels. The more aerobic exercise you do, the more the more you need to hydrate.
All liquids count, except alcohol and soft drinks. The jury is out on highly caffeinated drinks ie coffee and match, but most folks feel the effects of these beverages to be somewhat to quite dehydrating. Use common sense and don't rely solely on coffee for your water intake.
Soups are a good way to keep your water intake up during the winter. Starting each meal with a cup of soup is great for your digestion as well.
Veggies and fruits - and smoothies made from them - provide water.
Eating excess amounts of salty foods will dehydrate you, so on those days up your water intake to compensate.
Counter the dehydrating effects of alcohol by alternating with water or other non-alcoholic beverage.
All this said, please don’t use these recommendations as a source of stress. There is enough of that in life as it is! Instead, use the calculator to get your target amount. Track your intake for a few days to see how close or far you are. Then aim for upping your intake by one glass of water a day.
This is doable. You could do this by adding a cup of warm water with a squeeze of lemon in it first thing in the morning. This is an enjoyable habit that sparks your digestion for the day.
Once that extra glass is a habit, add another.
Or whatever trick works for you that is doable and sustainable.
If you tend to under hydrate, likely you will notice some differences after a few days to a few weeks of increased hydration, which might include skin less dry, less fatigue, clearer thinking, fewer headaches, and more.
Hydration is one of your most important self-care strategies - and it’s free!
Water is life,