By Vishal Patel, Chief Nutritionist
We are now fully exposed to the winter season, and with that means changes in environmental conditions that require the body to be on top of its natural defense system. What is troubling for scientist and nutritionist alike, is that athletes convince themselves that they do not need to consume as much as fluid (during exercise) as they would when temps are a bit warmer. That couldn’t be less true. In fact, winter hydration is just as important as hydration in any other season.
In the winter months, you’re dealing with colder, drier air - what that does is it makes you breathe much harder, which can cause airway inflammation leading to the athlete becoming sick. This instance of this occurring during winter months is much higher than during summer or fall months.
What also may be occurring is that your body is heating up a bit faster than normal. I know that sounds odd in the winter; however, most athletes will layer up which can lead to an increased core temperature, which will require more water. It is harder to notice or realize how much more you may be sweating during winter exercise, because the layers you wear often will absorb the fluids you are losing.
It is hard to fully segregate yourself from loved ones, co-workers, and friends when they’re sick. So, staying on top of hydration is the easiest way to fight off any sort of sickness that may be forthcoming.
Also, as stated earlier in the winter months, hydration is often neglected. And when hydration is neglected, you’re not doing everything in your power to make the most of your workout. Hydration alone can help strengthen your immune system, which needs to be in tip top shape during the winter months.
I always recommended to the athletes I coach and consult
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