Magazine article Nutrition Health Review

Water May Do More Harm Than Good during Some Types of Exercise

Magazine article Nutrition Health Review

Water May Do More Harm Than Good during Some Types of Exercise

Article excerpt

Drinking water during a long-distance running race may do serious harm rather than keep athletes safe from injury if they drink too much, according to a cardiologist at University of Texas--Southwestern Medical Center.

Runners or any long-distance athletes who drink too much water during a race could put themselves at jeopardy for developing hyponatremia, a condition marked by a loss in the body's sodium content. Hyponatremia can result in physical symptoms such as lethargy, disorientation, seizures, and respiratory distress.

In an article from The New England Journal of Medicine (April 2005), Dr. Benjamin Levine, a professor of internal medicine at University of Texas Southwestern, said that competitive runners are less likely to experience hyponatremia.

"Those who are running to finish the race very fast don't have time to drink a lot of water along the way," he said. "Those who are not running the race competitively tend to stop at every water station and take a drink. Over the course of a long race, they can dilute themselves."

In addition, popular sports drinks do not always include enough sodium to offset the body's loss of the mineral during exercise. The drinks often carry more water with smaller concentrations of salts than are normally found in the human body; therefore, they do not replace salts adequately, said Dr. Levine.

The journal article accompanied another article by researchers at Children's Hospital in Boston and Harvard Medical School. The study, which evaluated the blood cohcentration of sodium in runners both before and after a long race, recommended individualized fluid-replacement consumption by all competing athletes. …

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