Living in the winter air is enough taxing on our bodies. Just think about this for a second. We go out from a dry heated air in our house, to a cold dry air outside, and then to a dry heated air in a building (office or school). And then, we go through the entire road vice versa. During the winter, exercising can make us even more dehydrated than in the summer. Lack of humidity in the air contributes to higher dehydration levels. With that in mind, let’s talk about why you should drink more water, and how to improve hydration in the winter.
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What happens when you do not drink enough water?
We all know that water is an essential part of our lives. While humans can survive without food for a couple of weeks, we cannot survive more than three days without water. Our body is made of 60% water. When you are not drinking enough water and getting proper hydration, problems arise.
One of the first symptoms of low hydration is fatigue. We lose fluids through sweat, urination, or diarrhea, and we do not replace them. What happens is our blood becomes thick and the heart has to work harder and more to deliver oxygen through the body.
Dehydration takes a toll on your skin as well. Without water, your skin will be cracked, dull, dry, and flaky. It is a clear sign you need to drink more water. And the skin is not the only organ that will dry out. Your lips will go through a change as well. Your mouth is not producing enough saliva, which affects both your lips and your breath. Without saliva, there is nothing to kill bacteria in your mouth, and you experience bad breath.
We mentioned our body is composed mainly of water. Well, our poop is made of water as well. When the body is dehydrated, our colon absorbs more water and diminishes the bulk of the stools stored in the colon. Your stool needs longer time to move through the colon. This condition is commonly known as constipation.
You can also experience muscle cramps because you are not replacing the fluids you lose during sweating and urinating. Our blood has to take fluids from other parts, making the blood thicker, and the body less likely to function properly.
Last, but not least, not getting enough water will increase your to food cravings. One thing is sure, you will feel hungry
Set a hydration goal
When you are trying to drink more water, you have to set a goal. Exactly how much more water you need to drink?
Well, we all know the common practice of drinking 8 glasses of water per day. The problem is, the common standard can be too much for some people and too little for others.
A better goal is to drink half of your body weight in ounces of water. For example, if you weigh 200 pounds, you need to drink 100 ounces of water. That is approximately 12 glasses of water per day. And during the winter, it is nice to get more hydration. That doesn’t mean you need to drink more glasses of water. As we will see later on, there are other ways to hydrate your body.
Why you should drink more water?
It is too much to say that if you do not drink water, be it in the winter or summer, you will die. But that is the reality we live in. As mentioned previously, studies have shown that humans can survive without water no more than three days. But there are other benefits of drinking water. Here are some of them.
– Drinking water can also improve your mood. No more being grumpy and confused. Instead, drinking water makes you think clearer and be happier
– Water also improves your mental sharpness, as it enhances your mental function and is essential for survival
– Water improves our athletic ability as well. Being that our body is made of 60% water, our muscle tissue is made of 75% water, hydration is an important factor in our exercise routine
– Drinking water will reduce the pain in your joints thanks to hydration keeping cartilage soft
– Hydration is very important for our ability to flush out waste and bacteria. Water is an important element of the process of creating urine and sweat. Without water, our body retains water and all toxins inside instead of flushing them through urine
– Hydration can help you prevent headaches, as many of them are caused by dehydration
– Last, but not least, drinking water contributes to losing weight. Water can serve as an appetite suppressant
How to get more hydration?
Yes, it can be tricky to drink more water and get more hydration during the winter months. During the summer, it is easier thanks to fruits and vegetables that are mostly made of water. For example, in the summer, you have watermelon and cucumber, both of which are made of more than 80% water. In the winter, these fruits and vegetables are harder to find in grocery stores. But you still have other options.
For example, you can consume fruits such as oranges, lemons, and apples. All of these three will improve your hydration. In terms of vegetables, celery, lettuce, and tomatoes are some options you can try.
In addition to drinking more water, you can drink tea, especially green and herbal tea. Yes, they contain caffeine, but little caffeine is actually good for your body. And of course, you can always turn to healthy drinks like coconut water, a hydrating and refreshing drink.
Another great option for staying hydrated is to consider doing a Juicing cleanse. This is a sure way to get liquid into your diet even when it is cold out. Below, check out a cleanse offered by our partners at Puree Juice Bar.
In addition, there are other ways you can hydrate your body:
– Get a humidifier in your home during winter months. You can even make a DIY humidifier by placing a bowl or pan of water on a stove or near any heat source
– After a long bath or shower, open the bathroom door to allow the steam into other rooms and add moisture to your dry air
– Grow indoor plants that give off moisture. Be sure to keep them watered
– Last, but not least, go outside more. In some cases, water inside our home is drier than the air outside. Of course, this applies only if you are not living in a polluted city