Staying hydrated is essential for survival. In fact, about 60% of adults' body weight is comprised of water — we literally can’t live without it. During the summer months, we’re often more aware of our needs to rehydrate; as the sun beams down on us and the temperature rises, we become hot and consequently thirsty. But what about those cool winter months? Hydration is key for survival all year-round, which means topping up our water supplies throughout the winter months is just as important. Read on to discover the importance of staying hydrated in the winter and how to keep on top of it.
Why is staying hydrated in the winter just as important?
During the winter months when we feel cold and less thirsty we often forget to hydrate, even though we could be losing just as much water than on a summer's day. But why does that occur?
In the winter, our body’s thirst response is diminished by 40%. This is a result of our blood vessels constricting, sending more blood volume to our core in order to maintain our body temperature. The thirst response occurs when our blood volume decreases, however, in cold environments the body prioritises temperature. This means our brain doesn’t detect the decrease in blood volume and therefore, our thirst response is significantly reduced when we are cold. This is why drinking water and hydrating with supplements such as Mydrade in the winter is so important, regardless of whether you feel thirsty or not.
It’s not just the way we feel that changes during the cooler months; our bodies actually lose a lot of water through breathing in dry, cold air (also known as respiratory water loss). In other words, when you see your breath in the cold air, this is actually water leaving your body and evaporating. If you’re in this environment for extended periods of time, or you’re exercising in it, you’ll need to adequately rehydrate.
Unlike the summer when you can visibly see your sweat, more often than not your sweat will evaporate in the cold air, leaving you none-the-wiser. If you like to exercise outdoors too, the likelihood is you’ll be wearing a lot of layers to keep you warm. These layers can soak up your sweat, creating an illusion that you aren’t as dehydrated as you are in reality.
We’ve established how we dehydrate, but what are the benefits to keeping hydrated in the winter?
Staying hydrated regulates your body temperature
Depending on an individual’s environment, the winter months can often make keeping warm a challenge. Sure, you can wear a jacket, but did you know that staying hydrated will also keep you warm? Our bodies actually use water to regulate our core body temperatures; if you’re dehydrated, this could cause your body temperature to drop significantly and in extreme cases, it could even lead to hypothermia. Consuming room temperature drinks with vitamins and minerals, such as Mydrade, is the most effective way to regulate your body temperature.
On the other end of the spectrum, while the winter months can be cold, if you are exercising at a high intensity outside or inside a gym, your body temperature can still rise and this could ultimately lead to dehydration. Unless you rehydrate, this will lead to a further increase in body temperature and a decrease in your sports performance. In this situation, using a sports drink can be extremely effective to replace the electrolytes and vitamins lost through sweat, allowing you to rehydrate and continue to exercise optimally.
Staying hydrated supports your immune system
Maintaining a strong immune system is always important, but with winter months bringing a higher risk of infection comes a greater need to protect our bodies. One of the most simple and effective methods to improve your immune system is by staying hydrated with water or a hydration supplement such as Mydrade. Water enables the delivery of white blood cells and nutrients to tissues around the body, allowing organs to function properly and your body to fight off infections.
In addition to water, it’s important to consider nutrients. Micronutrient deficiencies — including vitamins A, B6, C and E — can have an impact on an individuals’ immune system response. In fact, if you’ve been participating in endurance or high-intensity sport, you’ll most likely have lost a lot of these nutrients through sweating and replacing these nutrients is essential. This is where Mydrade, which contains all of these vitamins, can help to restore your nutrient balance quickly and effectively.
Staying hydrated supports your mental health
As we’ve outlined above, winter temperatures can increase the risk of dehydration. More commonly known, the cold and often dark winter months can also increase feelings of fatigue, depression, anxiety and sadness. But are they linked together? The brain is made up of 75% water and just like the rest of our body, it needs water in order to function. If it’s not optimally hydrated, this can increase your body’s inflammation markers and cause a higher risk of depression and even dementia.
Though more research is needed in the field, there is also evidence to suggest a link between dehydration and increased anxiety. Water, however, can have a calming effect on the brain, and while it’s recommended that you seek further support, staying hydrated might help to reduce feelings of anxiety. But is it just water we need? One 2019 study found that water with electrolytes, such as Mydrade, may be better at reducing anxiety than just water.
It’s clear that staying hydrated in the winter is important, but it can also be more challenging with less visual or physical queues to remind us. In order to keep hydrated, it’s recommended to drink water even if you are not thirsty and consider taking hydration supplements.