Have you ever wondered why a five-mile run leaves you feeling parched in the summer, but not so much in the winter? There’s an answer for that! Spoiler alert: the answer is not that you’re any less dehydrated in the winter.
As humans, our bodies respond to our environments to protect against potential illness or harm. In the case of colder environments, our blood vessels constrict to conserve body heat at our cores rather than distributing freely to our extremities. Due to the fact that we maintain core body heat and blood flow, other responses in the body are not triggered as quickly as they usually would be in warmer temperatures. Because of this, our regular thirst sensations are reduced in the winter.
Cold weather also helps sweat to evaporate from our skin much faster. This means that we are left with much less of a “sweaty feeling” after longer activity.
Many of the regular sensory triggers that have us grabbing for our water in the summer are lessened in the winter. This can be potentially dangerous. Just because we don’t feel as thirsty, certainly does not mean that our bodies do not need regular hydration during cold weather activities.
In fact, the opposite is true. Consider this: do you recall seeing your breath in the air last time it was cold enough? That is water vapor leaving your body, and hence, increased fluid loss leading to winter dehydration!
Keep all of this in mind as we head into the colder months ahead. Staying proactive about your hydration will be more important than ever. Remember to keep your daily liquids consumption in proportion to your activity levels.
Stock up and avoid winter dehydration!