Utah winter workouts need water, too

Published December 16, 2011 5:06 pm

Fitness • Staying hydrated is as important in winter as in summer.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2011, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

That misty cloud you puff out during winter exercise is water your body needs in order to work well.

Multiple layers of clothing make you sweat, only without the cooling effect you get in warm weather when the air evaporates the sweat from your skin. So even though it's cold, you need to pay attention to hydration, especially when Utah's natural aridity is enhanced with dry furnace air.

According to experts with the American Council on Exercise and the National Academy of Sports Medicine:

• To stay hydrated in winter, take in more fluid than the standard eight 8-ounce glasses per day.

• A good way to calculate how much fluid to consume is to drink half your body weight in fluid ounces. So, if you weigh 180 pounds, you need 90 ounces.

• Water is the best fluid to consume, but noncaffeinated tea, juices and soup are other sources.

• Caffeine is dehydrating, so balance a 12-ounce cup of coffee with an equal amount of plain water.

• When it's cold, our blood vessels shrink and our blood tends to stay close to the body's core. This raises our blood pressure, so our kidneys compensate, which leads to increased urination even as we need to drink more water.

• When that water leaves your body, if it is dark, you are dehydrated. That is a better indication of when you need water than waiting until you feel thirsty. When fluids are properly balanced, urine is light-colored.

• Even if you feel your thirst has been quenched, you may still be dehydrated. The best tactic is to stay ahead of thirst by drinking water steadily throughout the day.

• Staying hydrated keeps your body better able to break down fat for energy and control your appetite. Dehydration hampers muscle performance.

• Tepid water is easier for your body to take in than cold water. So in the winter, carry water bottles, flasks or camels under your clothing.

• Drink 16 ounces of fluid two hours before exercising. Drinking half of that immediately upon getting up in the morning is a good general health practice.

• Sports drinks are sugary and generally should be saved for workouts longer than an hour. People trying to lose weight probably should stick to water, with other fluid coming from fresh fruit and vegetables.

• Even if you don't feel thirsty after a workout, drink two to three 8-ounce glasses of water within 30 minutes of finishing.

• If you weigh yourself before and after exercise, drink 20 ounces of fluid for every pound lost during your session. —

Signs of trouble

You may not think you're sweating when you exercise in cold weather, but you are, so stay on top of your fluid intake.

Feeling thirsty means you've waited too long to hydrate.