The Dangers of Too Much Water
Exercise-associated hyponatremia occurs when the concentration of sodium in your blood is abnormally low. Sodium is an electrolyte, and it helps regulate the amount of water that’s in and around your cells. If you drink too much water or sport drinks during exercise it can cause the sodium in your body to be diluted. It is important to have just the right amount of water and sodium in your body during endurance events as hyponatremia is just as life-threatening as dehydration.
Signs to watch for while participating in endurance training or events
- Stomach sloshing
- Pee has no color
- Rings on your figures are getting tight
- Nausea and vomiting
- Loss of energy, drowsiness and fatigue
- Muscle weakness, spasms or cramps
If you start to experience these signs even at a low level while participating in an endurance training or event it is important to take in some sodium (electrolytes) and reduce the amount of water you are drinking. Check into a medical tent as soon as possible to be checked over as hyponatremia can lead to seizures, coma and even death.
How much water is enough?
Everyone is different so it is important to know thyself and test your hydration strategies during training. Do you lose weight or gain weight? Do you sweat profusely or not at all? Minimizing weight changes during exercise will minimize the chance of hyponatremia as well as dehydration. Salt tablets, Gu and Pretzels can help; but make sure to test during long runs and listen to you body. Develop a schedule of intaking fluids and sodium that works for you that will prevent hyponatremia and/or dehydration.
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