We’ve all been there. We’ve all done it. Its 10 degrees outside, we head out for a training session, we get home. We look at our water bottle….which is still full.
Forgetting to drink enough water, or any water at all, while training during the colder months of the year can happen fairly easily. As we don’t sweat anywhere near as much as we do during summer, obviously the need to take on large amounts of fluid are reduced. And as our bodies can feel quite chilly, drinking is not something that is really on our minds. But we still need to take on fluids to remain healthy and be at our best.
On top of the cooling effect water provides when we sweat, our bodies use it in many metabolic processes. It is also used to assist in the elimination of waste products; and we lose a bit of water every time we breathe out in the form of vapour. So when the winter months arrive and the temperatures drop, even though we may not sweat, our bodies are still churning through quite a bit of water as we train.
So exactly how much should we be drinking? Not surprisingly, its impossible to give an exact answer! Our fluid requirements vary depending on a multitude of factors, such as body weight, body fat, exercise volume and intensity, age, temperature…….the list goes on. The old rule of thumb of 8 glasses a day, or about 2 litres, is always a good guide. Not everybody needs this much water intake, although athletes often need to be drinking more. During exercise, you should be drinking regularly, at a rate of around 150 to 250ml every 15-20 minutes….but again, this figure can vary due to a vast number of factors.
An easy little test to see if you are keeping yourself adequately hydrated is to pinch the skin on the back of your hand. It should snap back into place almost instantly. If not, you should probably be drinking a bit more. At the end of the day, the important thing to remember is that just because its icy cold out there, you still need to maintain your fluid intake….so no more getting home from a training session with your water bottle untouched!