Don’t Leave Yourself High and Dry: Get enough water in the winter

TDB Fitness Newsletter 1/30/2022

People often worry about gaining weight in the winter. However, an increased risk of dehydration likely poses a greater threat to your health during the cold months than any extra poundage you may put on. See this week’s trainer’s tips for how to improve your water intake during wintertime.

Photo by Uriel Mont from Pexels

When it comes to wintertime fitness, many people’s first concern is gaining weight. Although weight can be one factor when it comes to health and wellness, our diet culture tends to oversell its importance. Remember, this industry is banking on your preoccupation with weight and size in order to sell you products.

In all reality, one of the most common, general risks to our health during the winter is dehydration. Our risk for dehydration increases during the winter months. When we’re cold, we don’t get as intensely thirsty and we don’t think about drinking water as much. We expend a lot of energy moving around in heavier clothes, and our sweat evaporates more quickly in the cold air.

It is essential for your health overall to stay hydrated. Interestingly, staying hydrated during the winter can help prevent some of the habits that contribute to winter weight gain as well. In order to ensure adequate hydration during the winter try the following:

  • Drink water as much as you drink other stuff. Winter drinks are a thing. We often use different kinds of drinks to keep us warm in the wintertime. Unfortunately, many of the beverages we favor during the cold season also contribute to dehydration. Create a 1 for 1 rule and start drinking a cup of water with every cup of hot chocolate or sugary coffee drink.
  • When you feel like snacking, try drinking water first. Snacking tends to increase for a lot of people during the winter. Comfort foods warm us up, winter holiday traditions tend to center around food, and we’re dehydrated! When our bodies dehydrate our livers send messages to our brains. Our brains often process those messages as an urge for food! So, if you find yourself with a sudden urge to eat when you’ve had enough food – try drinking some water.
  • When you’re craving sugar, try drinking water first. When your body dehydrates, it loses its ability to release sugar into your bloodstream. As a result, you crave sugar. Especially during the holidays, you likely have easy access to sugar in the wintertime. Next time you go for leftover Christmas candy, or Valentines chocolates, try drinking water first. You may still eat the candy – but your body won’t feel like it needs it as much, and you’ll likely eat less.
  • Drink water for itchy, dry skin. Dry, itchy winter skin is one of my least favorite parts of winter. I always associate it with the cold, dry winter air. Although the weather-change is a factor, it was for writing this post that I learned wintertime dehydration also contributes to seasonal skin issues. Drink more water y’all!
  • Make drinking water part of your routine. Overall, adding more water to your routine can help prevent you getting dehydrated at any time of year. A long time ago, Vinnie convinced me to start carrying a refillable water bottle with me everywhere I go. It now feels like one of my limbs, and as a result I stay really well hydrated. Spending more time hydrated makes it easier for you to identify when you become dehydrated.

It reached -1 degree Fahrenheit this weekend in metro Detroit. It’s the coldest time of the year, seasonal depression is in full effect, and it’s January 71st. To be honest, fitness isn’t my top priority at the moment. And it doesn’t have to be yours.

Unfortunately, the diet culture vampires will try to shame you about your body either way. Do your best to fight them off this year! You owe yourself more in 2022. You can likely afford to gain a few pounds here or there this winter, you can definitely not afford to spend four months dehydrated.

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Thanks for Reading

WordPress just notified me about our one year anniversary of running our TDBFit newsletter. Thank you everyone who has supported us in our first year of business. Renea researches, writes, and edits this newsletter every week. It’s an important part of uniting our fitness community around TDBFit’s mission and fitness philosophy. Learn more about us here.

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