We are constantly reminded in the summer months and early fall to stay hydrated, but it’s easy to forget about hydrating when it’s cold outside. Because during activity we aren’t feeling hot and sweaty, we may not associate cold weather with dehydration. Unfortunately, the reality is that you’re still losing moisture, both through sweating (sweat evaporates quickly in cold, dry air) and breathing. Yes, breathing… when you exhale the air from our lungs, you probably notice it in the form of a small cloud, and that cloud contains moisture from your body.
Small levels of dehydration lead to significant decreases in physical and mental performance. So, please remember to constantly monitor your level of hydration, and don’t wait until you feel thirsty to drink something because this could be far too late.
The classic rule of thumb is to keep an eye on the color of your urine. Clear is ideal, less clear not so ideal and dark urine often means you’re dehydrated.
Here are a few tips to stay hydrated throughout the year, regardless of the temperature outside:
Drink something soon after waking up (milk, orange juice, water, etc)
Drink throughout the day (carry a water bottle to class)
Drink or sip on fluids even though you may not be thirsty
Avoid energy drinks
Limit alcohol consumption
Monitor urine color and drink more fluids as needed.
*Information courtesy of the National Center for Drug Free Sport.