Now the temperature has started to fall, it’s time to start thinking about your hydration when training outside. So if you haven’t already swapped the pavements for the treadmill, listen up!

Although the cold weather can impact a number of different factors in your training regime, hydration is often one of the biggest challenges.

The risk of dehydration increases in cold weather due to a reduction in the feeling of thirst even though we still sweat and lose vital water and electrolytes through breathing and urine.  One of the reasons for the reduction in thirst is due to the absence of the physiological mechanisms that encourage us to drink when it is warm.

When it is cold, the body needs to warm and humidify the cold air inhaled during exercise, which increases the water we lose via respiration. A recent study showed that those who took part in the cold weather had the highest incidence of dehydration compared to warm weather due to inadequate voluntary fluid intake to meet the demands of exercise. So if you think you don’t need to drink water and electrolytes while you’re out in the cold, think again!

A similar study by the International Olympic Committee found that voluntary fluid intake was significantly lower in winter sport athletes, because they thought there was insignificant sweat loss during cold weather workouts. This is a common misconception when training in cold weather – but you still need to ensure you’re consuming enough water and replacing those vital electrolytes.

Blood vessels constrict in cold weather, increasing the fluid circulating the body’s organs. Urine output is also increased as the body tries to restore, this is known as ‘cold diuresis’. This does explain that although there is a reduction in sweat losses in the cold, the risk of dehydration is still present due to insufficient fluid intake, water loss via respiration and increased urination. As even slight dehydration can affect performance, starting your training session hydrated and maintaining hydration should be a priority when training.

To ensure complete hydration before training, take one sachet of Totum Sport. This will provide you with all of the electrolytes and trace elements you need to perform at your best and hold hydration. You can then drink water as normal.