We all know how important it is to drink water every day, and yet we still tend to struggle with this task. For some reason, we all grew up being told that we’re supposed to drink 8 glasses of water a day. According to Heathline, this long-held guidance may stem from research in the 1940s that stated “the average person needs to consume 1 ml of water per calorie of food they consume.” For “a diet of 2,000 calories per day,” this translates “to 2,000 ml (roughly 64 oz), or eight 8-oz glasses.”
But over time, studies have shown that we actually take in a lot of water from the foods we eat, suggesting that perhaps eight glasses of water might not actually be necessary. Indeed, according to the U.S. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, the average adequate intake of water is “about 15.5 cups (3.7 liters) of fluids a day for men” and “about 11.5 cups (2.7 liters) of fluids a day for women (via the Mayo Clinic).
But what’s important to keep in mind is that the required intake of water actually changes among the seasons — keep reading to find out why.
Winter affects our bodies in many ways that actually make us thirstier than we would expect
It’s obvious that drinking lots of water in the warmer seasons is essential for our health, but have you considered the importance of drinking water in the colder seasons, as well? It might not have been something you think as much about, as it’s more difficult to identify when you’re thirsty during the colder months. Since you’re not sweating as much during the winter as you do during the spring or summer, you might not think you’re dehydrated or especially thirsty — but that doesn’t mean drinking water is any less important.
According to Ohio Health, our bodies actually use more water to breathe in the cold weather: “When the temperature drops, your body starts to use more fluids to exhale. When you breathe outdoors in the cold, you see your breath. That condensation forms because your breath has more water content than the environment. Because this air is so dry, your body needs to humidify the air you take in, causing you to use more liquids.”
There are several great ways to remind yourself to stay hydrated
During the colder months, our indoor heating is absolutely blasting. As cozy as this is, it’s actually very dehydrating. This excessive dehydration can lead to dry skin, cracked lips, and even digestion issues (via Ohio Health).
In order to combat this cold weather dehydration, sources suggest making sure to set up reminders to drink water since your body might not give you its regular cues. HerCampus suggests lots of great ways to remind yourself to drink water, such as the HydraTrak water bottle that shows “visual representations” of how much you’ve had to drink. They also recommend setting alarms, infusing your water with fruit, or downloading reminder apps.
You can also receive hydration from eating lots of fruits and vegetables, such as watermelon, strawberries, cantaloupe, and cucumbers — these options are all over 90% water-content or more (via Healthline).
Whatever your mode of hydration is, it’s essential to make sure that you don’t ignore hydration just because it’s cold outside!
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