January 26, 2018

Hydration Facts for Winter and High Altitudes

Unless you’re sweating and panting in the heat of summer, you may not crave a tall glass of cool water. In fact, in the throes of winter, you may just rather cuddle up under a blanket with a hot cup of coffee. The problem? A lot of people end up dehydrated in winter months, because drinking a ton of water is simply not on our minds as much, and cold weather tends to make us more likely to miss the signs of dehydration. Since your body and mind need adequate hydration to operate at full capacity, it’s important to think about your fluid intake at any season of the year.

Why is it so easy to get dehydrated in the winter?

  • People tend to lose the natural response for thirst when it's cold outside.

  • You still sweat even when it's cold out, especially if you are skiing or exercising.

  • Many winter sports take place at high altitude, and it's easier to get dehydrated when you’re frolicking among the clouds.

Causes of Winter Dehydration

Believe it or not, a lot of people end up more dehydrated in the dead of winter than in the heat of summer. There are several pretty valid reasons why. First of all, our blood vessels constrict when we’re cold, allowing us to conserve heat, and that’s good, but it can also prevent us from feeling thirsty. When your body feels all warm and fuzzy, you may not feel parched enough to chug from your CamelBack. Plus, with that puffy North Face coat, 2 sweaters, scarf, gloves, beanie, two pairs of jeans and winter boots, we carry around some extra weight in winter, and that can mean using up our stores of water faster.

How Altitude Impacts Hydration

Many of us love winter sports like skiing and snowboarding (or hardcore mountaineering like Brette Harrington), and hang out in higher altitudes than normal through the winter season. High altitude has important impacts on hydration, because with lower air pressure, sweat evaporates quicker from your skin, reducing a key signal to replenish your hydration.

Combined with the low humidity of most high altitude areas, low air pressure means you need more water to keep yourself properly hydrated.

Signs of Dehydration

Many people find it harder to notice the signs of dehydration during winter. Here are some signs to look out for while your hitting the slopes.

  • Dizziness

  • Shortness of Breath

  • No sweat, even when working hard

  • Headache

  • Fatigue

  • Nausea

Hydration Station

Lemon Lime

Açaí Berry

Passion Fruit

Variety Pack

More from the blog

Nepal 2019 Giveback Trip

  The lack of infrastructure in many Nepali cities and communities makes the country especially vulnerable. So when a devastating earthquake hit the small country in 2015, Nepal was thrown into chaos. Many Nepalis in rural villages are forced to walk hours through mountainous terrain to reach a doctor. In...

Read more

Is Generosity the Ultimate Health Hack?

(Spoiler Alert: Yup.) Exercise regularly. Eat healthy foods. Drink lots of water. Get enough sleep. These health hacks are time-tested and widely-accepted tips on how to stay vibrant. But science says there may be another shortcut to health that we’re not talking about: kindness and generosity. Sound crazy? Don’t take...

Read more

What to Bring to the Gym for a Beginner

Signing up for a gym membership is a great first step to a healthier lifestyle, but there’s more to starting a new habit than simply lacing up your sneakers and heading out the door. It can take a little practice to perfect what you pack for an ideal workout, and...

Read more