Exercise loads? You could be running the risk of overhydration - EazyFeeds

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Tuesday 9 August 2016

Exercise loads? You could be running the risk of overhydration

We all know that we should drink plenty of water to stay hydrated, as we’re constantly being told we’re not drinking enough.

The government’s Eatwell guide recommends drinking six to eight 200ml glasses of water per day, but a study last year by the Natural Hydration Council revealed that 59.4% of people in the UK only drink one serving of water or less a day, and 80.8% only drink two servings.

In spite of this, we could also be at risk of consuming too much water.

Hyponatremia – or water intoxication – occurs when the body takes on more water than it can sweat/pee out, causing blood sodium levels to drop to dangerous levels.

While severe cases are extremely rare, it’s actually easier to do than you might think, if you do lots of intensive exercise.

Research shows that during exercise problems are normally caused when you drink too much water rather than not enough,’ Dr Stephen Mears from the School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences at the University of Loughborough told WebMD.

You’d probably (sensibly) assume that guzzling loads of water during a workout was a good idea, but your sodium levels have already been reduced by sweating, so you’re then further diluting them by drinking loads of water.

Confusingly, the symptoms are similar to those of dehydration, according to Mayo Clinic.

In 2014, a 17-year-old football player died from overhydration during football practice.

In 2008, a previously healthy 47-year-old woman from London died of overhydration whilst hiking the Grand Canyon, while in 2007 a 22-year-old man died of hyponatremia after running the London Marathon.

In 2005, a study showed that 13% of Boston Marathon runners studied had hyponatremia, with 0.6% having a critical case.

The key is to drink little and often, and not guzzle loads of water in one go, as your kidneys can only expel half a litre of water an hour.

It’s important not to preempt thirst, especially on a long run – only drink when you’re thirsty.

Lastly, keep an eye on your urine – if it’s completely clear, you may be drinking too much water.

source: metro.co.uk

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