Is your body staying hydrated this winter?

Getting enough fluids isn’t just a hot weather concern, sufficient fluids are important regardless of the temperature.

Staying hydrated when the weather is hotWater bottle and dry is a fact that most of us know, and we feel the need to drink. But did you know our bodies have the same hydration needs even when the temperature dips, and stays, in single digits? Are you getting enough fluids this winter? Our body loses water during cold weather the same way it does in warm weather – through regular bodily functions such as breathing, urinating and sweating.

How do you know if you are hydrated? Check the color of your urine, yellow urine indicates the need for more liquids and light yellow or clear urine means you are well hydrated. If you feel thirsty, have a dry mouth, are having trouble focusing, are light-headed, feel tired and have dry skin, you need to increase the amount of fluids you are intaking.

Michigan State University Extension says that dehydration can be very serious. Please also note that these symptoms may indicate medical conditions that require a doctor’s attention and plan to see your health care provider immediately.  

Now for the big question, how much do we need to drink each day? You may have heard the eight glasses of water each day theory or some other recommendation. The Institute of Medicine of the National Academies recommends 11-16 cups of fluids each day for adult men and women, with children and adolescents needing 9 -14 cups.

This recommendation isn’t just for drinking water; it takes into consideration other fluids we drink and the foods we eat that contain high amounts of water such as soups, fruits and vegetables.  Keep in mind that intense exercise requires an increase in fluids as hockey, sledding, skiing and snow shoeing are as strenuous as hot weather activities.

Staying hydrated during the cold of winter is as important as being hydrated when temperatures soar, so reach for that hot cup of tea and bowl of soup. Your body will appreciate the warmth and the needed liquids.

While there is no hard and fast rule as to the amount of liquids we need each day, most can agree on the importance of what fluids do for us. Fluids help control our body temperature and transport oxygen and other essential nutrients to our cells. This information alone should have us all reaching for a bowl of soup and or a mug of low-fat hot chocolate.

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