With the colder weather, you probably don't think about hydration as much as you do in the summer. But whether or not you work out indoors or out — or whether you sweat a lot or don't — proper hydration is essential this time of year.
In fact, if you're not properly hydrated, it can cause your heart to have to work harder and it can decrease your energy levels, making you feel weaker, says Mitzi Dulan, registered dietitian, sports nutritionist and co-author of The All-Pro Diet. So if you want to optimize your winter workouts, read on for our top five tips for proper winter hydration!
Top 5 Winter Hydration Tips for Workouts
1. Know about the risk of winter dehydration. Although women's overall hydration needs don't significantly change throughout the year, it's actually easier to become dehydrated in winter because the thirst response reacts differently when we are not sweating in the heat and are instead exposed to cold weather, Dulan says. "Since we are not sweating or feeling as thirsty, we don't drink as much and therefore don't drink enough to be well hydrated," she says.
2. Hydrate the same as you would any other time of the year. No matter if you're working out indoors or outdoors this winter, your hydration needs are similar. So be sure to drink just as much water as you do during the summer or other times of year, Dulan recommends.
3. Weigh yourself before and after workouts to see how much to drink. Not sure how much to drink to prevent winter dehydration? One easy way to calculate your hydration needs is to weigh yourself before exercise. Dulan recommends that women drink about 16 ounces two hours before exercise, 8 ounces 15 minutes prior to exercise, and another 8 ounces every 10 to 15 minutes during exercise. Then, after your workout, weigh yourself again. For every pound of weight lost, drink about 20 ounces of water, she says.
4. Drink warm beverages to stay hydrated — and warm. When it's cold outside, it can be challenging — and chilling — to drink ice-cold water. So if you have trouble drinking cooler beverages this time of year, Dulan suggests warming up with warm water or green tea. Both are calorie-free and hydrating!
5. Set a water goal. In order to keep winter dehydration at bay, it's a good idea to set a goal to drink water throughout the day, in addition to before, during and after workouts. "I bought all of my clients a 24-ounce re-useable tumbler with a straw, and it is great to help them keep track of how much they are drinking," Dulan says. "I fill it up in the morning as I start my day, and know I need to get at least three full glasses each day."
Do you drink less water in the winter than you do in the summer? Will you start drinking more water for your next winter workout? Share your thoughts!
Jennipher Walters is the CEO and co-founder of the healthy living websites FitBottomedGirls.com and FitBottomedMamas.com. A certified personal trainer, lifestyle and weight management coach and group exercise instructor, she also holds an MA in health journalism and regularly writes about all things fitness and wellness for various online publications.