Extract your knitwear from the depths of your wardrobe, and pack away your flipflops, summer is officially over, and winter is looming on the horizon. You might view this as an opportunity to forget about the reusable water you’ve been sipping from all summer, but don’t put the lid on it just yet. In today’s blog, we’re sharing why it is just as important to remain hydrated during the winter months, and why winter dehydration is subtle, yet can have significant consequences.
Dehdration in the winter months
Evolution has caused our bodies to develop in highly intelligent ways, adapting to the environment around us in order to best ensure our general wellbeing. However, sometimes these evolutionary quirks can have knock on effects. When our bodies are cold, our blood vessels constrict to enable our bodies to conserve as much heat as possible, due to blood being drawn towards your core. However, this action has two significant side effects. Firstly, it prevents a normal level of blood flow to your extremeties – hence those cold fingers and toes! Secondly, this action increases our blood pressure, which is counterbalanced by our kidneys, which increase their output levels. Essentially, this means more trips to the bathroom, and faster fluid loss.
This process is exacerbated by the layers we wear to keep warm. In winter, most of us bulk up on heavy knitwear, scarves, gloves, and thermals. Whilst this might keep us warmer in the moment, the additional weight makes our bodies, on average, work 10-40% harder than usual, and therefore producing more perspiration. Perspiration evaporates with rapid speed in cold weather, meaning that we frequently do not realise how much fluid we lose in this way.
Why hydration in the winter is so important
Regular readers of our blog will know that, here at Borg & Overstrom, we are passionate about the importance of hydration. From schools, healthcare settings, and fitness centres, to residential homes, and workplaces, hydration ensures that our bodies and minds are at their sharpest. This becomes increasingly important when we have extremes of weather. As we mention above, our bodies have evolved to adapt to the environment around us. Mostly, this environment is ambient and mild, however, when the environment is excessively warm or cold, our bodies must react quickly to maintain normal function, often at the expense of other functions – and often our fluid levels. This is why we need to increase our hydration when it is very hot, but also, when it is very cold.
Hydration enables us to maintain our immune systems, fighting off infection and disease, and providing a general sense of wellbeing. This is vital in keeping us well during the dreaded cold and flu season. Indeed, recent research has found that those who drink less than three glasses of water per day were five times more likely to suffer from a blocked nose or sore throat, and four times more likely to contract the flu, than those who drink around eight glasses of water per day.
How to increase your winter hydration
Often during the winter months, we turn to tea and coffee to warm us up, and keep us alert. However, these beverages have a diueretic effect, making it more difficult for our bodies to retain fluids. Counterbalance each tea or coffee with a glass of water, this can even enhance the taste of your beverage – in particular, sparkling water is traditionally a popular partner for your morning coffee. Consider, additionally, selecting alternative beverages when in the kitchen, such as herbal or fruit teas, squashes, or sparkling water. You can find some fantastic suggestions for alternative warm beverages over on The Water Cooler Today.
You can also remind yourself of hydrating in the workplace by following some of our top tips and hints, such as using branded glass bottles throughout your work environment, or upgrading your water cooler or dispenser to ensure it is efficient, effective, and capable of high output capacity.
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