Myth Busters – Can you have too much water?
You may have heard somewhere that you must drink plenty of water throughout the day and that it is really good for you bla bla bla. Hang on, before we move on don’t think that I am bashing water, I actually love the element! So just as we are clear on that let’s move on….
Water is actually a vital component of our body as we store a large % of water within our body. The Earth as well is mostly water too so it clearly must be a very important factor for sustaining life. Life without water will not occur, the beautiful fruits, vegetables, mountains, hills, animals and we will all eventually die leaving the planet as a barren inhospitable planet. Our atmosphere will be affected too; changing our surroundings, clouding everything with articulates and could potentially set off chemical reactions which aren’t too nice! Anyway enough of high school physics, let’s get back to fitness!
Now you may think ‘is this blog about the lack of water or too much?’ But wait there I am getting there. I needed to explain a little bit about the lack of it, now to the other extreme…too much! Now we have seen national disasters caused by natural causes such as flooding, tsunamis and extreme thunder storms which all are composed of water! This causes drastic effects to human nature and the same applies within our bodies too. Just like flooding can breach people’s houses without knocking on their doors, too much water within our system can also cause drastic effects! Too much water can be very detrimental to health and can dilute important minerals such as sodium. Yes you may think sodium is bad for us but it’s really not, it’s just too much of it is bad. However, if you drink too much water you will actually dilute sodium causing a sudden drop in blood pressure causing symptoms such as dizziness, depression, low blood pressure, headaches, fatigue, abdominal cramps, muscular weakness, vomiting etc etc! This is called hyponatremia and if gets too severe can lead to organ failure, seizures and even death! Now this is all from an overdose of water. Not only that but too much of water can also flood in to organs and cause serious conditions such as kidney problems, liver disease, congestive heart failure and other ridiculous diseases!
Now on another note, if any of you are on medications then remember they all have side effects and some can be a false perception of thirst so please be aware of this and also you guys out there with diabetes can cause increased thirst perceptions so please be aware of this and consult your doctors! Anybody on medication, have existing issues such as diabetes or kidney problems, an urge to drink excessively before and after exercise then please DO NOT take this lightly and consult your doctor! There are plenty of treatments and help out there for over hydration and it is best that you start sooner than later!
Now for you guys who do not suffer from any diseases or on any medication or anything like that and are generally healthy, please do take caution and not to drink lots and lots of water! You have to remember too that there is a lot of water stored in foods that you chomp on through the day. I mean let’s be honest a cucumber isn’t just all green is it, I mean you can literally see a swimming pool in the middle of one! I wonder why apples are so juicy! Yes granted they do have other properties like malate and citrate but they store a hell of a lot of water too. So if you guys are eating an apple, 2 oranges, half a cucumber, a bowl of soup, 2 glasses of fruit and vegetable smoothie a day then your water levels in your body should be quite reasonable. So don’t buy in to this ‘you need to stick your head in 4 gallons of water a day’. It’s more of a guideline to follow stating that you need to keep reasonably hydrated so you don’t suffer.
Now what are good ways of knowing you are relatively hydrated you ask? Well I shall tell you! A good indicator is actually looking at the colour of your urine as blunt as it sounds. I don’t mean you have to stare at it and check with a magnifying glass as to what shade of colour it is! Just check, it should normally be a pale straw coloured yellow. If it’s white then you’re over hydrated or it if’s a darker yellow then you may need to drink a glass or 2. However, if it’s red or brown then you need to definitely go to the doctors as that’s more of a kidney or liver problem! So remember guys and girls – if your pee is a light yellow that’s good! Now another indicator is how you are actually feeling throughout the day; are you feeling healthy, lively, fresh and energetic and can focus on what you are doing? Or do you feel lethargic, hungry, tired or irritable? Remember hunger doesn’t mean that you need food but it can also mean that you are dehydrated so keep that in mind and think when did you last have a big meal and when did you last have a big glass of water?
If you are still finding it hard to monitor your water levels, then try and keep a diary with you at all times recording the amount of water you are consuming and times that you are too. By keeping a log you have proof as to how much you are consuming and from here you can make the tweaks here and there. Alternatively, if any of you are still finding it difficult then speak to somebody in this industry, I don’t mean a hydroelectric engineer I mean somebody like a dietician who specialises in peak performance and they can help you. There are many tests that are available out there to monitor and regulate your hydration levels and to keep your body in correct levels.
So remember everybody out there, drinking water is definitely good for you but too much of it as bad as not enough of it. If anybody out there is experiencing any of the above symptoms or other symptoms related to over hydration then please do control your hydration levels or if you need more support then please do contact your health practitioner for advice and support. This is a serious matter and to stay fit and active don’t OVERDOSE … on water I mean!