Ask Athletic Trainer Erik Collins: Should Athletes Drink Less Water In Colder Weather?

We know we need to drink water during a soccer or volleyball game under the hot summer sun. But when the leaves fall and the temperatures drop, do our bodies need less water? Summit athletic trainer Erik Collins explains how colder weather affects hydration.

During late summer football camp, the high school athletes under the care of Summit athletic trainer Erik Collins know they need to be hydrating. “You sweat a lot in football camp,” Erik explains, “and you need to replenish that fluid.” As fall advances and the weather gets colder, regular hydration can feel like less of a priority to young players. This is when Erik steps in.

“I have my students eat a big healthful meal at home, and then I tell them to try to drink a big bottle of Gatorade and an equal amount in water. That way, they replenish their electrolytes and get the water they need as well. Then, I want them to have 8 to 16 ounces of water about two hours before practice, and 12 more ounces 30 minutes before practice. After training or a game, student athletes should drink 16 to 24 ounces for every pound of weight lost and this doesn’t change when the temperature gets colder,” he explains.

“When it’s cold outside, you are still exercising and your body is still sweating,” he points out. “Hydrating is just as important in cold weather as it is during the summer. I’ve seen kids cramping in cold weather. They don’t understand why they are cramping, but one reason could be because they are dehydrated. They are drinking less water because their bodies don’t feel like they need as much water when they are playing in 40-degree weather. But water is as important in cold temperatures as it is when it’s hot out—and you need just as much water in cold weather to stay properly hydrated.”

Gradual hydration throughout the day is a year-round habit for Erik’s athletes, and a great habit for anyone committed to good health. “When you are hydrated, your body is functioning at its best,” says Erik. “You are going to play—or do anything—more safely.”

 

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