How much water do you drink?

James

Skiing the powder
Instructor
Posts
8,158
Question:
If salt keeps water in the body, why do salt tablets make dehydration worse?

Hello, Can you please explain on your site when it says “Do not take salt tablets. Salt tablets make dehydration worse because they drain the water from your body.”


Answer:
by M.J.Mihalick, MD FACC
Texas Heart Institute.org

"The only good thing about salt tablets is that they are very poorly absorbed. This limits the damage they can do.

The definition of dehydration is the condition that results from the net loss of WATER. The concentration of sodium in our body fluids is closely regulated by the kidneys. In most cases, water is lost via perspiration and breathing. This fluid is HYPOTONIC meaning that the concentration of sodium in it is low compared to body fluids. To correct or prevent it, all that is needed is to take in more water. The small amount of sodium loss is easily replaced from a normal diet.

In hot, dry climates like Arizona, the normal kidney will adjust and water is all that is needed. When we become dehydrated, the sodium concentration in the body is already elevated. Adding salt (sodium) only aggravates the condition by forcing the kidneys to excrete more water in order to eliminate the extra salt."
...
More:
https://www.texasheart.org/heart-health/heart-information-center/frequently-asked-patient-questions/if-salt-keeps-water-in-the-body-why-do-salt-tablets-make-dehydration-worse/
 

coskigirl

Making fresh tracks
Skier
Posts
3,152
Location
Lafayette, CO
That's largely talking about just normal life. I'm talking about prior to exercise when I know I'm going to sweat quite a bit because I'm a heavy sweater. On Tuesday I was out for a bit over an hour, drank ~30ozs of water, was bone dry on the skin and clothes because it all evaporated and still lost .7lbs. I don't generally start doing the salty bottles before a workout until I plan to be out for 90 minutes or more in 90 degrees or higher and even then it doesn't come anywhere close to the amount of salt in a salt tablet.

https://www.webmd.com/fitness-exercise/features/what-to-drink-when-you-exercise#4
 

RiderRay

Booting up
Skier
Posts
18
Location
Brewster NY, Glendale AZ
I was taught that if your urine is very yellow and/or has a strong odor, you are dehydrated. But over hydration is not good either because you are washing needed electrolytes out of your body. It takes a little work but you can learn what your body is telling you if you pay attention. There are days when I can't get enough water and hardly pee and others when it seems like I drink 16oz and I have to pee 10 minutes later.
 

cantunamunch

Meh
Skier
Posts
7,845
I was taught that if your urine is very yellow and/or has a strong odor, you are dehydrated.
True but it also happens if you're eating gobs of vitamin B or doing heavy muscle work.

But over hydration is not good either because you are washing needed electrolytes out of your body.
Sweat, diarrhea, vomit -> only 3 ways to lose electrolytes. Without being exsanguinated, that is.

You're right that it's relatively easy to get low blood sodium drinking just water tho - all it takes is a sweaty hot day in the saddle and two low salt meals. Been there, done that, don't need the ammonia breath ever again.
 
Last edited:

SSSdave

life is short precious ...don't waste it
Skier
Posts
742
Location
Silicon Valley
Since Vail is just about to ding my bank account for this coming season's pass, time to start lurking here again. Will offer a water story herein

As for drinking water, my body is different. As a grade school kid growing up in outer suburban summer hot Sacramento we never carried water bottles (no one carried water bottles then!) or food around and would often be gone several hours on our multi mile adventures. Thus I grew up sort of like humans native to desert regions where people learn to do with little water. Generally I have a high sweat threshold. Note I don't drink alcohol or caffeinated drinks, never nicotine, and rarely medicines so over decades have had a natural internal chemical balance. Currently 5'6" 133# BMI 22.

During ski season I don't drink while on slopes and if I do it would eating snow off of tree branches. At lunch being an economic peon, I almost always eat out of my car and will drink something then, usually orange juice or 1% milk. Although I ski a lot of moguls, I don't sweat often.

Five days ago walked out of a 9 day backpack where I started out carrying 60 pounds of gear and food in order to climb through the John Muir Wilderness, 10.5 miles up 6370 feet over Shepherd Pass into the Upper Kern Basin of Sequoia National Park. Shepherd Pass is arguable the most notorious trail pass from hot sagebrush zones of Owens Valley that climbs over the Sierra Nevada Crest because there is a waterless stretch of 4.9 miles while climbing 2540 feet. Even though little me is in rather good shape for an old guy, the challenge scared me because I knew it would not only be agonizingly strenuous over hours but also being really thirsty is life threatening.

At 4pm when I parked at the 6300 foot trailhead the temperature was 97F. The trail follows rock hop across Symmes Creek for a mile. I stumbled ahead step by step slowly carrying the huge 44% of my body weight. By time I reached the last crossing before the dry segment began, the sun had disappeared behind the towering range and temperatures dropped to the low 80Fs. My target was 3.1 miles up a very steep slope with 58 switchbacks to reach the waterless Symmes- Shepherd notch at 9080 feet 2190 feet higher. Thus needed to be carrying enough water for the night and next morning. Before leaving I torso dunked in the frigid stream and packed away 64 ounces of its cold water. I was wearing my usual Levi 505s but without a shirt as I expected to sweat a lot and so I did. Halfway up the slope at about 7:30pm temperatures had fallen into the 60Fs that helped much but the massive exertion still had me sweating heavily, mostly out my back as is the situation carrying a backpack pressed against one's back. By then I'd drank about 16 ounces and was increasingly confident I'd actually reach the notch while drinking only about 32 ounces or half my supply. Time to put on the headlamp as darkness hid the landscape.

Before starting my plan was to turn around and return to my Forester at the trailhead if it was effort beyond my capability. Then would have the next morning picked up a walk up wilderness permit for a much easier plan B. Astronomical sunset was about 7:40pm. Well I kept stumbling ahead one foot at a time while increasingly stopping on any convenient rock or log and at 9:30pm semi delirious, I reached the notch. By 10pm after gulping down more water I was closing my eyes in my tent and would soon be asleep.

View9080.jpg



The next morning was on the trail before 7am and moving slowly, stopping a lot, reached The Pothole at 11,000 feet late in the afternoon. Above image shows the view from near where I tented at the 9080' notch. Most of that day above 9200 feet, fresh cold water was easily had so I drank much. On the third morning I climbed over 12,040 foot Shepherd Pass about 9:30am and into the national park that required near the top negotiating a 30 foot steep snowfield section where if one falls one may die. Five days later would be making my return leg over the pass and back to my car. Interestingly over those 5 days in which I semi-base camped in 2 zones, I drank a ridiculous amount of cold fresh water both day and night which is what dry air and exertion can do to a body above 11k. The image below was where I base camped 3 nights. This night, day 5 was down in the green meadow below Tawny Point.


BighornPl.jpg


And tomorrow? With a bro am going to start a much less strenuous easier backpack from Mammoth Lakes over Duck Pass where we'll just relax fishing huge deep Duck Lake for 4 days.
 
Last edited:

Marin

Booting up
Skier
Posts
42
Location
McKinney TX
When it comes to this question it all depend where are you and what you do.
For me Summer time it is minimum 3l a day up to 8 liters( Yes 2 Gallons) if I work all day in my shop at 120F being outside here in TX.

Winter, when I ski all day form 9-4pm I drink around 2 liter of the water and rest of the day 1-2 Liters.
 

palikona

Putting on skis
Skier
Posts
189
A couple of questions:
-On a rest day, common advice is to drink 1/2 of your weight in water. What about skiing for 4-6 hours at altitudes above 10,000’? How much more? That’s a large amount of water and there’s no way I won’t be peeing every 15 mins. Also, should I add Nuun electrolytes?
-The day after a strenuous day of hiking or skiing, I usually feel dehydrated, even when I’ve had a good amount of water during both days. Should I treat it like a strenuous day and keep up the regime of more water and electrolytes in order to get my body back to normal?
 

Prosper

Booting up
Skier
Posts
79
Location
Ken Caryl, CO
As far as I'm aware there's no medical evidence to support that drinking a specific amount of water is healthier or better for you. Based on the many posts, differences in opinion and differences in what everyone does, it's definitely not one size fits all. Whether you believe in evolution or creation us humans have a pretty good mechanism to tell us when we should drink: thirst. If you're thirsty your should drink. If you're not, you don't need to drink unless you're doing something physically active. Pee color is based on a number of things in addition to hydration status. If you take vitamins and supplements your pee is probably going to always be pretty yellow since you're kidneys are not absorbing those excess vitamins and minerals and just excreting them in your urine. You definitely want to avoid significant dehydration since it can harm your kidneys. Many insults to your kidneys over time can lead to chronic kidney disease. Follow you're doctor's advice if s/he tells you to drink a lot due to a medical condition, like orthostatic hypotension. Don't forget that a large percentage of what you eat is made of water so there's fluid intake when you eat. Most physically active people, like just about everyone on Pugski, will need to drink more than couch potatoes. How much is up to up to you. If you like to drink a specific large amount of water per day because it makes you feel healthy, go for it. You'll probably have to pee a lot. If you drink in the evening right before bedtime, get used to getting up in the middle of the night to pee. If you drink only when you start to feel thirsty you're probably going to be fine.
 

palikona

Putting on skis
Skier
Posts
189
Will adding electrolytes like Nuun tablets to my water during skiing help me take in more water and piss less? They and food should help absorption?
 

avgDude

Booting up
Skier
Posts
13
Location
land of misfit toys
Years ago when I drank diet soda a lot I had two kidney stones - don't want to do that again. Since then I drink 3+ liters a day. And zero kidney stones.
 

Prosper

Booting up
Skier
Posts
79
Location
Ken Caryl, CO
Will adding electrolytes like Nuun tablets to my water during skiing help me take in more water and piss less? They and food should help absorption?
I don't think there's any evidence that adding electrolytes is of any benefit in helping your body absorb water. If you're sweating a lot (ie long runs or rides in 90+ degree temperatures with high humidity), replacing electrolytes makes sense and has a very low likelihood of harm. Even the most aggressive skiers don't have anywhere close to that sort of energy expenditure. Unless you're seriously overdressed, you're not going to sweat that much either.
Years ago when I drank diet soda a lot I had two kidney stones - don't want to do that again. Since then I drink 3+ liters a day. And zero kidney stones.
Yes, there are a number of medical conditions in which staying well hydrated can prevent problems, like kidney stones, gout, postural hypotension, chronic bladder infections, among others. If you are prone to these conditions definitely stay well hydrated.
 

palikona

Putting on skis
Skier
Posts
189
But Nuun tablets have sodium, so I’d think that would help cellular absorption of water?

I don't think there's any evidence that adding electrolytes is of any benefit in helping your body absorb water. If you're sweating a lot (ie long runs or rides in 90+ degree temperatures with high humidity), replacing electrolytes makes sense and has a very low likelihood of harm. Even the most aggressive skiers don't have anywhere close to that sort of energy expenditure. Unless you're seriously overdressed, you're not going to sweat that much either.

Yes, there are a number of medical conditions in which staying well hydrated can prevent problems, like kidney stones, gout, postural hypotension, chronic bladder infections, among others. If you are prone to these conditions definitely stay well hydrated.
 

Prosper

Booting up
Skier
Posts
79
Location
Ken Caryl, CO
But Nuun tablets have sodium, so I’d think that would help cellular absorption of water?
Your body has a pretty sophisticated homeostatic system that's pretty hard to fool. Taking over the counter electrolyte tablets in typical, manufacturer recommended quantities is probably not enough to throw that system off balance, given you're otherwise healthy. Your body will realize that you've taken an increased sodium load and will signal to your kidneys pretty quickly to just excrete the excess sodium or other electrolyte or water soluble vitamin or water so your serum electrolyte levels stay pretty stable. Of course, medical conditions and certain medications can affect this system. In extremes of electrolyte or water intake and/or extremes of physically demanding situations this system can "malfunction". This is the type of situation in which marathon runners die of over hydration (hyponatremia). This is a simplification of the system but hopefully good enough for government work. If you eat a well balanced diet, you probably don't need electrolyte or vitamin supplementation. You're likely and literally flushing all that excess down the toilet. For the vast, vast majority of recreational skiers, the potential small degree of performance enhancement by taking electrolytes or supplements is not likely worth the cost. If you like to take supplements and it makes you feel better, go for it. Just stick to the manufacturer recommended dosages (which might not be worth it's weight in salt). I still argue that thirst is good enough to determine how much you should drink. If you're going to altitude or going to be physically active, drink a few (3-4) more glasses of water before, during and after altitude change and/or the activity. If doing a really cardiovascular demanding activity with lots of sweating drink an additional couple of glasses. If you're still thirsty, drink another glass or two. That should work for the just about all of use run of the mill recreational athletes. Any exercise physiologists out there who would care to comment?
 

Advertisement

Top