Most Popular in Fitness

  • Army PFT Push-up Score Chart
    Army PFT Push-up Score Chart
    Military.com|
    You must score at least a 50 in each event in order to pass the APFT to graduate Basic Combat Training.
  • Army PFT Two-Mile Run Score Chart
    Army PFT Two-Mile Run Score Chart
    Military.com|
    You must score at least a 50 in each event in order to pass the APFT to graduate Basic Combat Training.
  • Army Basic Training PFT
    Army Basic Training PFT
    Military.com|
    The Army's Basic Training Physical Fitness Test is a three-event physical performance test used to assess endurance.
  • Army PFT Sit-up Score Chart
    Army PFT Sit-up Score Chart
    Military.com|
    You must score at least a 50 in each event in order to pass the APFT to graduate Basic Combat Training.

Drinking Too Much Water

Drinking Too Much Water

In light of a recent incident, in which a radio show contestant died from water intoxication after taking part in a contest to see how much water one could drink without going to the bathroom, I thought there should be clarity on what happened. Drinking water is essential to living, but there are ways that you can die from drinking too much water. A concerned reader wrote:

"Perhaps you might consider updating your excellent article about drinking water in light of the death today of a young mother of three who induced hyponatremia by drinking water for a radio station contest."

I have written several articles about the importance of drinking water, including the following:

Weight Loss Myths  - Discusses the importance of adding water to your diet for weight loss. Burning fat requires water and oxygen.

Can you Die from Drinking Too Much Water? - Discusses how an athlete can die from profuse water intake, a hot sweaty environment, a long period exertion, and alack of sodium/potassium replacement.

What the mother of three died from on the radio show was a condition called hyponatremia (meaning - a potentially fatal disturbance in brain function that results when the normal balance of electrolytes (salt, potassium) in the body is pushed outside of safe limits by a very rapid intake of water. She drank nearly two gallons of water - WITHOUT using the restroom - in a short period of time. 

It is safe to sip water throughout the day and drink water with every meal, but you must add food that contains a healthy amount of salt and potassium. Having ONE banana or kiwi can make a difference in your electrolyte balances. You will notice that you must use the restroom every 1-2 hours. This too keep the balance (water and salts) in check.

The difference in a healthy amount of water intake and doing the above, is that you stretch that amount of water over the course of 24 hours, 4-5 meals (containing some potassium and sodium), and USE THE RESTROOM when you need to. 

Important Note:

If a person who is on a restricted sodium diet, drinks ONLY half a gallon (1.8 liters) in one sitting without using the restroom, that person could die from hyponatremia - water intoxication. However, the same holds true for a normal diet of sodium intake, but the limit increases to more than three liters of water in a SINGLE sitting. The Safe thing to do when it comes to water consumption is to drink just before you are thirsty - do not try to fit universally recommend amounts of water into a short period of time. Water consumption should be done throughout the day - not in a chugging effort to play catch-up because you missed the daily recommended amount.

Remember - Everything in moderation: Food, water, alcohol etc, even exercise!

I hope this clears up any confusion from the importance of water and the danger for us all to abuse water and hurt ourselves without even knowing.

Stew Smith is a former Navy SEAL and fitness author certified as a Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) with the National Strength and Conditioning Association. If you are interested in starting a workout program to create a healthy lifestyle - check out the Military.com Fitness eBook store and the Stew Smith article archive at Military.com. To contact Stew with your comments and questions, e-mail him at stew@stewsmith.com.

Related Topics

Health General Fitness Weight Loss Stew Smith Diet and Nutrition

Military News App by Military.com

Download the new Military.com News App for Android on Google Play or for Apple devices on iTunes!

© 2016 Military Advantage