You’re probably more dehydrated in the winter months. This is why

You’re likely very much aware of all the reasons why you should drink more water. Yeah, we all know the drill by now: The more you sweat, the more water you have to drink. The problem is that for most people, sweating has become some sort of physiological marker. You might think: “Oh, I’ve worked up a pretty good sweat, I should take some sips now!” But because we sweat significantly more during the summer months than during the colder months of the year, we have a tendency to forget to drink in the winter. While drinking enough water is just as important during this time. This is the main reason that you’re probably more dehydrated in the winter than during the summer months.

Why you are probably more dehydrated during the winter months

Since we often associate sweating with the need to drink more water, in the winter (when we usually sweat a lot less) this urge gets pushed to the background. However, the fact that you don’t sweat as much in the winter, does not mean you’re not losing fluids. Moisture loss simply takes a different route during the winter months. Are you one of many people dealing with dry skin, cracked lips and a raspy voice in the colder months? This is caused by a process called transepidermal fluid loss, which is triggered by a lower humidity. Because it is cold outside, we turn up the heat in our houses. This makes the air even more dry; we’re creating an environment that basically sucks the moisture out of our bodies. The consequence is that – if we don’t drink as much as during the hotter months – we’re more dehydrated in the winter. Therefore, you should not just look at the amount of sweat you lose, but also take into account how dry the air in your home is.

How to stay hydrated in the winter

A good place to start with is simply increasing your water intake. How much water you need is different for everyone, and also depends on how often you work out and how intense those workouts are. Luckily, the winter months offer plenty of other ways to hydrated your body; think having soups and drinking a lot of tea. This also keeps you warm, so you can hit two birds with one stone! Aside from keeping yourself hydrated, it is also a good idea to check the humidity in your home. A hygrometer (a tiny device that measures the humidity levels inside the house) will only set you back a few bucks. Humidity levels between 40 and 60 percent are ideal for a home environment. Are yours below that? Then there are easy ways to bring the humidity up. Think buying more house plants, placing some bowls with water on your radiators or letting your laundry dry inside. If you’re experiencing serious humidity issues, investing in a humidifier is definitely worth considering.

Final thoughts

Dehydration is not just a summer thing. You can be dehydrated at any time of year. But the winter months are especially important to keep an eye on your moisture levels. Don’t forget: the fact that you’re not sweating as much, does not mean you’re not losing fluids.

 

Are you getting enough Vitamin B12?

As a vegetarian I know it can be quite a challenge to ensure you get all your nutrients. Especially because you can’t always tell you have a deficiency. Luckily I’ve got a sister with a degree in Food and Nutrition, who’s currently working on her masters in Health Sciences. I was unaware of any deficiencies until she got me hooked on oat milk, which I heat up to put in my morning coffee. The best thing about oat milk for me is that it has added Vitamin B12 – which, I later realized, I wasn’t getting enough of. I am now, and I feel so much better. What about you? Are you getting enough Vitamin B12?

Why is B12 so important?

Vitamin B12, also called cobalamin, is a nutrient that our bodies are unable to produce naturally. This means that the only way to get B12 into our system, is by absorbing it through food or supplements. And it’s definitely something to look into. Vitamin B12 deficiencies can lead to various physical complaints, like (extreme) fatigue, anaemia, muscle weakness, stomach problems and damaged nerves. But it can also result in cognitive issues, like a lack of focus, poor memory, confusion and an increased risk for depression. Long story short: both your body and your brain need B12 to function properly.

How do I make sure I get enough Vitamin B12?

The issues mentioned above can, of course, also be the result of another deficiency or medical issue. However, if you’re (mostly) plant-based, you’re at a higher risk of not getting enough B12. This is because the nutrient is mostly found in animal products like meat, fish and dairy. If you suspect a B12 deficiency, take a look at some other products with added B12. Many types of oat milk, soy products, meat substitutes and granola are enriched with B12. That said, vegetarians and especially vegans may need to get a supplement to get the daily recommended amount. Luckily, there are plenty of options these days. B12 is one of the 7 most important supplements that help you thrive on a plant-based diet. Always ask for expert advice from a health care professional before you start taking supplements, so you know you get the formulation that works best for you.

How to make your push-ups more effective

Push-ups. Love ‘em or hate ‘em, they are the best way to train your arms without needing weights. However, this doesn’t mean you need to do dozens of push-ups every day to reap the benefits. By making your push-ups more effective, you can get better results with less repetitions. One way to do this is through so called ‘isometric push-ups’. In other words: by holding your position when you reach the bottom of your push-up. Below, we’ll explain how to perform isometric push-ups, and how this makes the exercise more effective.

How do I perform isometric push-ups?

To do isometric push-ups, you start in the same way you would with regular push-ups. Place your hands flat and directly underneath your shoulders, push the ball of your feet into the floor and engage your core. Slowly lower your chest towards the floor; keep your body in one straight line and make sure your elbows keep pointing backwards (no flapping!), until you get to the lowest point that you are able to control – about one or two inches above the floor. Hold that position for a few seconds. Then push yourself backup by straightening your arms. Start with five reps per day and gradually increase.

How does this make your push-ups more effective?

With isometric push-ups you reap the benefits of both push-ups and planks, without putting too much pressure on your muscles and joints. You’re training your back, your core and the smaller muscles in your arms and shoulders, in a way you can’t with regular push-ups. Do this consistently, and in no time you’ll be able to do multiple push-ups in a row. You’ll also be able to hold your position longer, without putting in too much effort. And who knows… maybe you will even start to develop a love for those dreaded push-ups!

Not ready for isometric push-ups yet? Check out our Beginner’s guide to doing push-ups!

Why you should sit on the floor more often

Ever since I was a child, I’ve had a tendency to sit on the floor. I still do it every time I visit friends and when I have guests over. While my closest friends are used to it, many people often give me a funny look and ask me why I choose to sit on the floor when there’s a perfectly comfortable sofa or chair to sit on. I don’t know, it just feels nicer to sit on the floor, it makes me feel more grounded. Turns out, my weird habit is not as crazy as they may think; experts say sitting on the floor is actually good for your health and longevity.

Taking a look at the Japanese

According to Blue Zones founder Dan Buettner, it’s not bad to take a look at the lifestyle of Japanese people – more specifically, the people in Okinawa. They often have very little furniture in their homes and therefore spend most of their sedentary time of the floor. And this contributes to the fact that they are among the people who live the longest and healthiest lives. 

“The longest-lived women in the history of the world lived in Okinawa,” said Buettner in an interview with Well&Good. “I spent two days with a 103-year-old woman and saw her get up and down from the floor 30 or 40 times, so that’s like 30 or 40 squats done daily.”

It makes sense, when you think about it: if a woman is able to repeatedly stand up from a seated position, every day of her life, even at old age, she must be in much better health than most elderly women in Western society.

The Sitting-Rising test

Buettners theory is supported by many other researchers, who claim that the ability to stand up from a seated, cross-legged position – without using any other limbs to support you – is a good indication of longevity. This is also known as the Sitting-Rising test. The European Journal of Preventive Cardiology published an interesting study that suggested that people who were unable to complete the Sitting-Rising test were five to six times more likely to die an early death, than those who had no issues performing it.

Why you should sit on the floor more often

When you get into the habit of sitting on the floor more often, this also means you need to get up from that seated position. Doing this multiple times a day increases your balance and strengthens your core – which in turn improves your overall mobility, natural flexibility and muscular-skeletal fitness.  It can also prevent falling when you are older – and falling is one of the main causes of death due to unintentional injury for people over 65 years old. 

How to do it right

If you want to give sitting on the floor more often a try (and you definitely should!) there is one thing you should pay attention to: your posture. It is important to avoid slouching (something that I, as an experienced floor-sitter, am still struggling with sometimes) and try to center your weight over your hips, so there’s not too much pressure on your feet and ankles. If a cross-legged position feels uncomfortable for you, try sitting on the edge of a folded blanket or rest your butt (not your legs) on a pillow. This way, your hips are slightly raised and the alignment of your body feels more comfortable.

Final thoughts

Of course, in our present-day society many of us spend way too much time sitting down and you should still make sure to get up regularly and walk around. And I’m not saying you should get rid of all your chairs and sofa’s and spend the rest of your sedentary time on the floor. However, alternating between sitting on an (ergonomic) chair and sitting on the floor, can actually help to realign your body and increase your range of motion. I’d suggest giving it a shot, just make sure to be mindful of your posture. Who knows, you may even enjoy it.

5 tips to overcome emotional binge-eating

Do you ever feel the need to binge when you’re bored, anxious, angry or sad? A lot of people are dealing with this type of emotional bingeing. Emotional eaters don’t eat because they are physically hungry, but because this is their way to deal with negative feelings or emotions. We all get them; in the end, it’s all about how you deal with it. Below, we’ve listed the best tips to overcome emotional binge-eating!

How to overcome emotional binge-eating

#1. Breathe

When you feel a need to binge coming on, pause for a second. Close your eyes and just breathe. Feel how your ribcage expands when you breathe in, how it feels when you breathe out, how your brain responds to that extra oxygen.

#2. Drink water

We often don’t notice it when we start to become dehydrated. But dehydration can increase feelings of agitation and irritation, causing you to reach for unhealthy snacks sooner. This is just one of many things that happen to your body when you don’t drink enough water. So when you’re planning on raiding the fridge, first make a detour to the tap for a big glass of water.

#3. Massage yourself

A self-massage can also help to curb your binges. Instead of stimulating your tastebuds, try stimulating your bloodflow and muscles. Massage your temples, your feet or use a foam roller to get into those glutes.

#4. Roll out your mat

You can’t eat away your bad feelings. Yoga forces you to respect your physical abilities as well as your limitations, and helps to cultivate a loving relationship with yourself. Not only does yoga increase your physical flexibility, it also makes you mentally flexible; and this makes you strong enough to overcome emotional binge-eating. Also read our Yoga 101.

#5. Go outside

Sometimes, when nothing else works, you just need an old-fashioned distraction. This is most effective when you get out of your comfort zone. So instead of walking to the pantry, just walk out the door! Go for a run (check out these 5 tips to start running), take your dog out for a walk in the woods, get on your bike or take a trip to the nearest beach for a refreshing dip in the ocean.

You got this!