Water, agua, H2O, the stuff most of your body (~60%) and most of the world is made of. We have been told for a long time that we need to consume 8, 8oz glasses of water a day to replenish our bodies supply for this “essential nutrient”. It turns out that this is more of a guideline, and not a requirement based on scientific evidence. The new school of thought is to actually observe the way your body is acting and reacting. If you workout and sweat, you need to replenish lost fluids. If it’s extra hot outside, drink more water. If your pee is neon yellow, DRINK MORE WATER! It’s a pretty simple idea really, but I can understand why guidelines are put in place, a rule of thumb about water consumption is sometimes easier for people to follow.
So what happens to your body exactly when you don’t drink enough water?
- Dehydration. Symptoms include dry mouth, headache, lethargy, dizziness, inability to concentrate, lack of strength.
- Cramps after working out. You deplete your body’s electrolytes, like sodium and potassium, through sweat when working out. Sodium and potassium are the basic conductors for most functions in your body. When these levels are low, cellular communication misfires or fails giving you muscle spasms or cramps.
- Coma then Death. Water is a main component of blood volume, and as you become more and more dehydrated your blood volume decreases, making your heart work harder to deliver oxygen to your body. Soon you go into a coma, and die 😦
Can you drink too much water?
Simply put, yes. A condition known as hyponatremia, is the imbalance of sodium to water. When you drink too much water, which is a pretty hard thing to do, you are essentially diluting your sodium levels causing a myriad of symptoms found here. A few years ago, several people were care-flighted out of Burning Man for hyponatremia. They had been so concerned with becoming dehydrated that they overcompensated, and ended up with an equally serious medical condition.
It all comes down to some basic body intuition. When you are thirsty, drink some water, if you’re not, don’t. If you have a headache or are feeling sluggish, drink some water. There is a school of thought that believes that you can cure most diseases with just water. It’s pretty interesting and you can read about it at watercure.com. Won’t you join me in a toast to spring break and good health and drink a big glass of whisky…oops I meant water. Cheers!