You can still dehydrate in Winter!
While the importance of hydration is on our minds during the warmer weather, it is often forgotten during the colder months, and the colder months are here!
Cold Weather Hydration & Body Performance
Proper hydration during winter is necessary to keep our muscles healthy and our bodies performing at their optimal level. As we don’t feel as thirsty during the colder weather, we often fail to meet our body’s fluid requirements.
About 60% of our body is made up of water. Water is essential to the proper function of our muscles, our brain as well as hundreds of other physiological reactions in our body’s. Fluid loss, even as little as 2% of our total body weight, begins to negatively impact our mental and physical performance.
Cause of Cold Weather Dehydration
There are a few reasons why dehydration can sneak up on us during colder weather compared to warmer weather:
Cold weather does not trigger the thirst response like warm weather does. Blood flow to the extremities is constricted during cold weather. The blood instead is directed towards the internal organs in an attempt to maintain core body temperature.
As long as the body’s core has sufficient blood flow, the brain does not detect dehydration, and the thirst response is not activated. This is good for survival, but bad for performance hydration!
The take home point here is, don’t wait until you are thirsty to drink!
Decreased Body Moisture
Cold air holds less moisture than warm air. With each breath we take our lungs need to moisturise that air before it is exhaled and replaced again with cold dry air. When this process is repeated over a sustained period of time, it increases the risks of dehydration.
Faster Sweat Evaporation
Although you might not feel like you are sweating that much, the perspiration that does reach your skin is quickly evaporated and you might not even feel that sweaty at the end of your exercise. You may think, I didn’t sweat that much, so I don’t need to drink that much. Not true!
Try weighing yourself before and after your run. You should drink about 500ml of fluid for every half kilo that you sweat out.
Inadequate Cold Weather Clothing
In cold weather, good technical layering is essential in preventing dehydration and overheating. Significant metabolic heat can be generated as a result of heavy or moisture trapping fabrics, which can result in elevated sweat rates.
A good base-layer should wick the moisture away from your body to keep you dry and allow for evaporative cooling to occur. Without the proper clothing, an average sized person performing moderate to heavy exercise, can lose up to an extra 2.0 litres of sweat per hour!
Increased Urine Production
Blood flow is constricted when it’s cold. This constriction causes an increase in blood pressure. The body tries to counteract the higher blood pressure by getting rid of some of the volume of water in the blood. It does this by increasing urine output which contributes to dehydration.
Tips to Maintain Cold Weather Hydration
- Drink before, during and after exercise
- Think to drink! Don’t rely on thirst alone
- Use an electrolyte drink for longer endurance type exercise
- Choose the right clothing. Try using a mask or a scarf that covers your face to help warm the air before it enters your lungs
- Try to avoid fluids that can dehydrate the body. These include: alcohol, some carbonated drinks and caffeinated drinks
- Monitor the colour and the volume of urine your body is producing. Your urine should be light yellow or clear. If it is darker, drink more water and/or electrolyte.
- Look out for early signs of dehydration including fatigue, light-headedness and even irritability.
How does PREPD Improve Hydration?
Well, that’s really simple – by improving the absorption of your water/sports drink by up to 30+% and by decreasing fluid loss during exercise by up to 85%. Don’t just take our word for it, check out our published and peer reviewed clinical trial.
Whether it’s hot or cold, use the PREPD Hydration System to:
- Improve Hydration
- Reduce Fatigue
- Improve Performance
- Recover Quickly
- Ready to Go Again!