Updated: October 6, 2021
In the summertime, most of us remember to drink plenty of water during outdoor activities. However, we’re often less mindful of hydration when summer fades to fall and the temperatures start to dip.
An active body needs plenty of water during cold weather! Whether you’re playing a fall sport like football or soccer or preparing your yard for the winter, good hydration will help your body move better — and avoid injury!
Why is it important to stay hydrated?
Hydration is incredibly important because more than half of the human body is made up of water. Proper hydration is more than quenching thirst, it helps our bodies function properly and efficiently. Depending on the activity, weather, level of intensity, and other factors, a person can lose between 0.3 and 2.4 litres of sweat per hour.
Benefits Of Hydration:
- Helps the body move more efficiently
- Improves athletic performance
- Reduces muscle soreness
- Reduces the risk of injuries related to dehydration (e.g. heat injury and exercise-associated muscle cramps)
- Helps lubricate your joints
- Helps us sleep better
- Fights off infections
- Improves our overall mood
Signs Of Dehydration:
- Dry mouth
- Nausea and/or vomiting
- Muscle cramps
- Overall body weakness
- Headaches and/or migraines
- Brain fog or confusion
How much water do I need to stay hydrated?
Most people need about two to three litres of fluids every day to stay hydrated, but active people need more to replenish the sweat they lose during activity.
To know if you’re drinking enough, weigh yourself just before and after you exercise (after emptying your bladder and removing sweaty clothing). If you lose more than 2% of your body weight, you’ll need to drink more.
You can also tell if you’re drinking enough by checking the colour of your urine (healthy urine looks like lemonade — not apple juice!).
9 Tips To Stay Hydrated In Colder Weather
Most of us will stay properly hydrated by listening to our bodies and drinking when we’re thirsty (or before) but here are some additional tips to ensure you stay hydrated this fall:
1. Drink water throughout the day.
It’s important to drink throughout the day, rather than consuming a lot of water right before exercise. Consider purchasing a fun refillable water bottle you’ll want to use — maybe even one with time markers to help you stay on track!
Hot tip: Don’t forget your water bottle at home! Carry it with you when you go out shopping or for a walk with friends.
2. Don’t wait until you’re thirsty.
If you always wait to drink water until you’re thirsty, chances are you’re not going to drink enough water in the day to stay hydrated.
If you drink a glass of water when you’re thirsty, you’re more likely to put the glass away and not think about water until you’re thirsty again. Remember step one — drink throughout the day!
3. Drink more water than other liquids.
You can help your body stay hydrated by drinking more water than anything else. Avoid caffeinated drinks which cause dehydration and steer clear of sweet or carbonated drinks which can upset the stomach and make it hard to drink enough to be hydrated. If it’s the carbonation you’re craving, try carbonated water like bubly.
However, sports drinks (e.g. Gatorade or Powerade) can be useful to people who exercise at a high intensity, for more than an hour, or on hot days (even autumn can have some scorchers!). Not only do these drinks provide fluids, but they replenish electrolytes lost to sweat and provide energy in the form of carbohydrates. These drinks can also be good for athletes who wear heavy sports equipment (e.g. football or hockey gear) that can trap body heat and cause a person to sweat even more.
4. Match your water intake to your duration of exercise.
As we mentioned above, a shorter duration of exercise (e.g. one hour) is low enough to be able to replenish your body with water. However, a longer duration of exercise or at a higher intensity may require more electrolytes.
5. Try not to always drink cold water.
Sometimes drinking a cold glass of water will be just what you need. For example, it’s best to drink colder water when working out, when sweating, or when you want to give your body a boost of alertness.
However, drinking room temperature water is best when you’re fighting off a sinus infection or congestion, when you want to improve digestion, and when you want to feel less thirsty. Room temperature water is also helpful for those with highly sensitive teeth — cold temperatures shouldn’t be the reason you don’t get enough water in a day.
6. Include lemon or cucumber in your water.
Fresh fruit doesn’t just add a burst of flavour that will make you more inclined to drink, it can also help your body better absorb the water.
7. Drink hot water with lemon (and honey).
If you love tea, it can be easy to drink more caffeine in a day than planned. During colder months when you feel tea is the perfect comfort drink try boiling water and adding fresh lemon juice (and honey if you like it to be sweeter) this way it’ll seem like you’re drinking a soothing hot beverage but drinking more water and less caffeine.
Hot tip: consider starting your day with a cup of hot lemon water before your coffee! This way you’re already on a head start to the number of litres you should drink in a day.
8. Include more fruits and vegetables in your diet.
Including more fruits and vegetables at mealtimes can be an easy way to give your body extra fluids.
Here are some examples of water-rich fruits and vegetables that you should still be able to find during colder seasons:
- Lettuce (Romaine & Iceberg)
- Bell peppers
9. Track your water intake with an app.
If you have a hard time sticking to a new daily habit, consider trying a water tracking app on your phone. It’s a free and easy way to make sure you’re getting enough water!
Healthline has a great list of water tracking apps that you can download today!
Ready to stay hydrated this fall?
To learn more about the importance of hydration and how to stay hydrated, chat with one of our many physiotherapists at your next appointment — book today!
Note: New clients are always welcome and a doctor’s referral isn’t needed!