Winter Hydration: Is Dehydration In Winters Possible?
Winter is not coming, it’s already here. It’s time to unwind, take a break, celebrate Christmas, indulge in winter sports. But in addition to this fun and excitement in the cold weather, there is one thing we need to focus upon more than anything else and that is dehydration in winters.
We often don’t associate dehydration with winter. During winters the body doesn’t get hot and sweat evaporates fast in the cold air which makes us think that we are not losing fluids. Dehydration is still a big risk while playing in the snow. So like your skin, take care of winter hydration too.
Causes of Dehydration during winters?
During winters, the thirst response of our body is diminished by up to 40% even when we are dehydrated which happens because our blood vessels constrict when we are cold to prevent blood from flowing freely which enables the body to conserve heat by drawing more blood to its core, but, because of this our body is fooled to think that it is properly hydrated. Thus, in cold weather, athletes drink less water and additionally, their kidneys aren’t signalled by hormones to conserve water and urine production increases
Apart from diminished thirst response and increased urine production, the several other factors leading to dehydration are:
- Wearing Extra Clothing: Pieces of warm clothing, heavy jackets and thermal inners helps your body conserve heat but the added weight is one factor which makes your body to work 10-40 percent harder. While working hard, the body produces more sweat, which contributes to the fluid loss.
- Sweat evaporates much faster in Cold Air: We usually feel that we are not sweating in cold weather because sweat evaporates quickly which is another factor that contributes to a diminished thirst response.
- Increased Respiratory Fluid Loss: We loose more fluids through respiratory water loss in cold weather. The colder the temperature and the more intense an exercise, the more vapour you lose.
- People tend to drink caffeinated, warm drinks in winters which cause frequent urination leading to dehydration.
COLD WEATHER SPEEDS UP DEHYDRATION:
Your body’s natural response is to constrict the blood vessels on your fingers and toes to conserve blood volume and warmth for the core of the body, during winters. Blood flow is increased to the kidneys which responds further with increased urination.
STAY HYDRATED – NO MATTER WHAT:
Whether you are working outdoors or Indoors, your body needs to be hydrated in the same way. It is important to consume the same amount of water as you would any time of the year. Set a water intake goal every day to keep a check and ensure you are properly hydrated.
WHO IS AT GREATER RISK?
Almost everyone gets dehydrated if there is no water intake goal to follow but young kids, old adults and people with illness are more at risk. Because of their small body weights and high turnover of water and electrolytes, the infants are more vulnerable to dehydration.
ILLNESSES THAT INCREASE THE RISK OF DEHYDRATION IN WINTERS
Having untreated and uncontrolled diabetes puts you at a high risk of dehydration. Other illnesses like Kidney disease and heart failure, cold or a sore throat and fever increases dehydration.
The best thing is to drink fluid before/or as soon as you get thirsty.
PRO TIP: 1-litre water is needed per 20 kg. body weight, which means, if your body weight is 20 kg., your per day water intake should be minimum 1 litre. Similarly, if your body weight is 75kgs. or 80 kgs., per day water intake should be 3½ to 4 litres respectively.
Focus on winter hydration, folks, because our body consists of 75% water and it is one of the most important elements needed by our body to function properly.
Stay Fit and Healthy.
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