The thirstiest I’ve ever been was during a group hike in my later teens. On a hot day miles from any water source, only one of us had a little water left.
As I watched him drinking, I was tempted to run up, smack him on the head and drink it myself. I didn’t, of course.
Still, I’ll never forget the primitive desire rising up inside of me as I he finished the last drops.
We knew it would be dangerous to keep going, so we found a shady roadside spot and waited for a vehicle. For what seemed like an eternity, I could think of nothing except my need for H2O.
A van finally stopped. Fortunately for us, its occupants had water they were willing to share. Quenching my thirst that day was one of the most satisfying experiences of my life!
Yesterday I wrote about my habit of drinking 8 cups of water a day. I started doing so because I’d learned waiting to drink until I was thirsty made my water intake inconsistent.
The 8 cups of day serve as a good base. But I regularly walk from one two hours daily, so extra water is important. During hot weather or heavy exercise, I may drink double the water to quench my thirst!
But how do I avoid hyponatremia (low sodium)?
In the NutritionFacts video Are Sports Drinks Safe and Effective?, Dr. Greger also addresses the issue of exercise and hydration. His conclusion?
“Your body’s not stupid; it will tell you when you need to drink. ‘There is now ample evidence’ that we can just drink to thirst. And, you do not have to drink your electrolytes. But wait, if you’re sweating and just drink pure water, aren’t you risking washing out too much salt, too much sodium, and ending up with “exercise associated hyponatremia,” too little sodium?”
His answer, is that we do not need to worry about too little sodium during exercise unless we drink too much. That is, too much water or any sports drink. Studies show that it is perfectly fine to just drink water when thirsty while working out in normal conditions.
Maybe I’m still trying to recover from the day my teenaged self ran out of water. But as an active adult?
I have faith in my routine of drinking 8 cups of water a day, supplemented by listening to my body when I’m thirsty!