It may be a surprise to many that cold weather actually accelerates dehydration. You may not be sweating as you move about in the cold but water vapor is still being lost.
Colder weather causes blood vessels to constrict so that heat is conserved and body pressure is maintained. When your blood vessels shrink this causes an increase in blood pressure. Your kidneys respond to this increase in blood pressure by making more urine.. This means way more trips to the bathroom which creates a greater risk of dehydration. Given this, it is extremely important for people with high blood pressure to pay attention to hydration.
Dehydration can cause muscle fatigue, exhaustion, cramps (ever been woken up from sleep because of cramps? drink water), loss of coordination and even a stroke. Your susceptibility to colds and flu increases if you don’t have enough water in your body. It’s very important to drink water as we head into cold and flu season.
During the winter we all tend to exercise less and eat more. We spent far more time indoors, often sitting. It’s hard to keep those extra pounds from accumulating over the winter months. When hydrated your body is able to break down fat for energy and you’ll find your appetite better controlled. If you aren’t putting enough water into your body then your body will hold any water it does have and cause fluid retention. You’ll notice this in your hands, feet, ankles and around your eyes.
Our bodies are made up of ½ water. Experts recommend that we drink at least 8 glasses of water daily. The amount of water each person needs also depends on your level of activity and the amount of food consumed that is high in water content. Check the color of your urine. It should be clear and light colored if you are getting enough water. If you are drinking coffee or alcohol, balance it out by drinking more water
Most of us repeatedly make the decision to drink more water and then find we forget to do so. Here are a few tips to help you to remind yourself:
- upon waking, drink 2 glasses of water
- leave a drinking glass in the bathroom and at the kitchen sink
- drink before, during and after exercise
- take a bottle of water everywhere with you (fill it from the tap)
- drink a glass of water before each meal
- drink a glass of water when you prepare for bed
- if you have a cell phone set a reminder to drink water at appropriate intervals
Drink more water and improve your life. You’ll sleep better, rid yourself of many indigestion problems, lower your blood pressure and think clearer. Learn to love water. It’s the best gift you can give to your body.