When exercising, you've got to watch out for dehydration caused by the combination of excessive sweating and not drinking enough water. To avoid the dizziness, headaches, and dry throat associated with this condition, you probably load up on water while working out, but you don't want to overdo it.
There is such a thing as drinking an excess of water. It's known as hyponatremia or water intoxication, and it's the opposite of dehydration. It basically means you have an abnormally low concentration of sodium in your blood. Guzzling a ton of water in a short amount of time can overload your kidneys and cause a drop in blood sodium levels. Sodium is important to your body because it's an electrolyte (just like potassium and chloride). Your cells need these minerals in order to pass electrical impulses to other cells for normal bodily functions. A drop in sodium levels in your blood can cause water to enter your brain, which will cause it to swell. Symptoms include fatigue, headache, disorientation, confusion, hallucinations, nausea, restlessness, seizures, and may result in a coma or death.
To hear about how to care for and prevent hyponatremia, read more.
If you're experiencing these symptoms, then your doctor may recommend you cut back on your fluid intake, and increase the level of sodium in your diet. If your symptoms are severe, you may need intravenous fluids to raise the sodium levels in your blood. Medication may be necessary to manage your nausea, headache, and dizziness.
To prevent water intoxication, don't consume more than 34 ounces of water per hour. When working out for extended periods of time, you may want to drink a sports drink that contains electrolytes. If you're wondering how much water you should be getting each day, check out Fit's Calculator.