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Winter Water: Why staying hydrated in the coldest months is beneficial… and crucial.

With temperatures dropping to bone-chilling lows, the instinct to curl up next to the radiator with a mug of hot chocolate grows stronger with every chilling wind. When the temperatures outside are in the single digits, trading that favorite hot beverage for a glass of water may sound less than appealing to your frozen fingers and chattering teeth, but winter is actually one of the most important times to keep hydrated, perhaps more than you would expect. Winter is a time of massive dehydration. Outside, winter's cold winds suck moisture from skin and out of the respiratory system. Inside, hot radiators and space heaters make the air dry and thin. Without adequate hydration, the body rations the water it has to focus on vital systems and leaves many other systems vulnerable and weakened.

With elevated exposure to dehydrating elements, the skin reacts to the deficit by becoming itchy, dry, and prone to breakouts. Dried out nasal passages and throats lead to chronic coughing and sneezing. Perhaps that winter ‘cold’ you fight for three weeks every January is just a lengthy reminder that you need some more H2O in your system. Water regulates all of the body’s functions. In regards to sickness, water supports the immune system’s ability to defend itself against virus and disease. Water is the key ingredient in the mucous that lubricates the sinuses, throat, and stomach. This mucous is the first line of defense against contaminating germs and bacteria that cause illness. When winter sickness runs rampant among weak immune systems, some of the best protection can be found in an 8 oz. glass of water.

Exercising in the winter can be a great way to raise your body temperature amidst cold weather climates. Winter can be a time when we pack on a few extra pounds from the holidays or swiftly forget new year's resolutions. Consider this: dehydrated bodies hoard excess water if they are not receiving enough, which can contribute to water weight retention. Believe it or not, drinking more water can help the body get rid of extra weight from water. When not properly hydrated, the body thinks it is in crisis, weakening the body systems that rely heavily on water, such as the digestive system and the circulatory system. Keeping hydrated increases the amount of oxygen in the bloodstream, which aids the body to more efficiently burn fat as fuel. We are all 60-80% water, so it’s no secret that the body functions best when at its hydrated potential. And, when you have finished a rigorous Studio 26 workout, keep on drinking that water. Increased hydration oxygenates muscles, helping them repair, rebuild, and grow stronger, faster.

So how much is enough? It has been commonly recommended to drink eight 8 oz. glasses of water per day. However, it is necessary to take into account the things that counteract our best hydration efforts, like coffee, tea, and sugar. We know it’s cold, but if you have that extra coffee for warmth, think about matching it with another glass of water. Stay warm, stay strong, and drink up!