Summer Hydration/Dehydration

Summer Hydration/Dehydration

It”s summertime, summertime, sum, sum, summertime” ¦ well, almost. And if you are like most people, you will be enjoying the great outdoors with all sorts of sports and recreation. Fishing, hiking, biking, triking, gardening, jogging, walking the dog the list goes on and on. But one thing that all of these different activities have in common is the danger of: DEHYDRATION! Dehydration is a condition that is caused when you sweat out more water than you take in. Your body needs H2O in order to function.

If your body becomes dehydrated, the first sign, of course, is that you will become thirsty. Do not ignore this thirst. DRINK SOME WATER! Drinking water is the best thing because that is what your body needs to stay hydrated. Drinking sodas or beer or sports drinks is okay in moderation, but drinking too many of these other beverages can actually make you thirstier.

Many of these drinks have high levels of sodium in them and sodium is counteractive to hydration. Sodium dries out your cells rather than hydrates them. That”s why the use sodium to cure meats for long term storage, the sodium removes all of the moisture from the meat and the moisture is what will cause it to rot.

Staying hydrated will help prevent heat exhaustion and heatstroke because when you become hot you sweat. Sweat is your body”s cooling mechanism and you lose a lot of water when you sweat. And without water you can”t sweat, if you don”t sweat you overheat; thus, heatstroke. See how important drinking enough water is?

On the other hand, you don”t want to drink TOO much water. Drinking too much water can cause a condition known as water intoxication and this may lead to a condition called hyponatremia, which is over-dilution of the sodium in your body.

The body is an intricate electro-chemical machine. All things must be in balance in order for the body to function properly. If this chemical balance becomes, well, imbalanced, this can cause many problems for you, including death.  Sodium is what is known as an e3lectrolyte. The body needs electrolytes to function. Indeed, some sports drinks (gator-something comes to mind) are a good source of electrolytes, but you can consume too much of this as well and cause an imbalance in the other direction.

So, drink water, but not too much. Consume electrolytes, but not too much. Now it”s just getting confusing, right? Well, maybe. But the important thing to remember here is that healthy adult kidneys can process about 15 liters (about 4 gallons) daily, so it isn”t very likely that you will get water intoxication, although it is possible. The idea is to not drink too much water at once.