Cold weather can make your skin dry and flaky and can make drinking water seem like a chore. The thing to remember is that a dehydrated body may be more susceptible in winter to fatigue, colds and flu.
Recently I was reading an article in my running magazine that a 2% drop in body water can cause small but critical shrinkage of the brain. This can impair neuromuscular coordination, decrease concentration, and slow thinking. Dehydration can also reduce endurance, decrease strength, cause cramping and slow muscular response. Also, for anyone doing any physical work or exercising, water is extremely important to the joints. Because the synovial fluid contains water, if you become dehydrated less synovial fluid is available to protect the joints.
Lastly, don’t wait until you are thirsty to drink water, because that is the first sign of dehydration! Believe it or not, your urine will tell you if are hydrated. If the color of your urine is clear or light-colored, it means you're well hydrated. Dark yellow or amber colored urine usually signals dehydration.
Tips for Staying Healthy and Hydrated
- If it’s hard for you to drink water during the colder months, try keeping water at room temperature. You won’t feel as chilled after drinking it.
- Eat plenty of fruits and veggies – Apples are made up of about 84 percent water, while tomatoes are 94 percent water.
- Make your water taste better – Try infusing it with fresh fruit (lemon slices, berries, cucumber slices or a splash of organic juice) and keep a full pitcher handy in the fridge.
- Keep a bottle of water at your desk so you remember to drink water throughout the day and refill it often.
- Drink a glass of water after each trip to the restroom.
- Sports drinks should be limited to use when training for more than 60 minutes of an intense nature. A sports drink can help to replace lost electrolytes, but they are often high in calories from sugar content, so they should be used sparingly, especially if you are trying to lose weight.
- Reduce your caffeine consumption as it can cause you to urinate more often. The same can also be said for alcohol consumption.