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Could cold weather be sabotaging your hydration efforts?


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Photo: Stocksy/Michela Ravasio

While it may technically be almost spring, the forecast is keeping many of us in a winter state of mind—for now, at least. But one thing that remains important, whether it’s 70 degrees out or a brisk 37, is staying hydrated. That, however, is easier said than done when icy winds are stinging your face and the last thing you want is a cold glass of H2O. (Just me?)

To better understand how our hydration requirements can change along with the temperatures, I reached out to Cody Cook, PhD, the president and chief medical scientist of HTWO beverage company. According to Dr. Cook, the amount of water your body needs is impacted by more than whether or not you’ve hit a HIIT class recently. The weather does a number on your body’s hydration levels, too, and you may need to pay extra attention to your drinking habits when temperatures drop.

“Winter conditions can cause us to have a false perception of our requirements for proper water intake.”

As the doctor points out, your body is always losing hydration from respiration and perspiration—you may just notice it more in the summer. “Winter conditions can cause us to have a false perception of our requirements for proper water intake, partially due to the effect of breathing cold and dry air that causes the body to lose significant amounts of fluid,” Dr. Cook explains. And even if you don’t think you’re sweating on your trek to the subway, that doesn’t mean you can slack on your hydration routine. “The cold weather also causes differences in how sweat interacts with our skin as we perspire. We often think we are not sweating in cold, dry weather, because our sweat tends to evaporate so quickly.”

To make your 8-ish glasses per day a little more cold weather-friendly, take a cue from Ayurveda and drink them warm or room-temperature, infused with lemon for extra nourishment. When in doubt, think of it this way: Just as you need to double down on your moisturizing routine in the winter, your body needs a little extra love in the hydration department, too.

Here’s how to monitor how hydrated you are (it’s super simple). Just be sure not to drink *too* much water—it’s rare, but it’s possible.

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