Still on the topic of hydration, and urine, did you know that there is such thing as overhydration?
So, here anyway, it’s still super hot, and sheds, they are not going to be changing in a hurry. So, you are out there working in hot, hot, heat for long hours every day, and you are sweating! You are losing water from your body - it needs to be replaced... What should you do about it?
Until about 30 years ago, athletes were told not to drink while exercising, leading to some unfortunate deaths of athletes in long distance events (more than 7 hours) from high sodium levels in the blood, an offshoot of dehydration.
After this, athletes were told to drink as much as they could while exercising, especially in the heat. This has lead to it’s own problems, where, when too much water is consumed, the amount of sodium in the blood is decreased for up to 24 hours following prolonged physical activity (confusingly, this can also happen in dehydration where the sodium is released through sweating) – with mild issues such as weakness, dizziness, headache, lethargy, nausea/vomiting or sadly more severe manifestations, including seizures, cerebral oedema, noncardiogenic pulmonary oedema, and death.
These are pretty severe consequences from drinking too much water, so how should you manage your fluid levels when working in the heat?
Importantly, we don’t feel thirsty until we have lost 1-2% of our body weight, so using thirst as a guide is not a smart option – the best way to keep hydrated is to drink enough water that our urine is pale coloured, but not enough to overdo it!
Weighing yourself at the start and end of the day is a good way to be accurate about our performance – make sure that you have replaced the fluid before you go to bed – this means you are the same weight at the end of the day as when you begin. If you are super keen, take your scales with you to the shearing shed, otherwise, when you get up and when you get home, and again and again until you are back to your base level. I am not recommending weighing yourself to look at your weight – just your hydration.
If you are trying to lose weight, remember that the weight you lose every day through sweating is what keeps you being able to stay moving and healthy, and looking at how your clothes fit is a better way to measure how you are going.
If you have any issues that do not recover with replacing fluid - then you should contact your medical professional - there can be serious ongoing problems if you don't treat severe hyponatremia.
What I do want to know - how do you keep yourself hydrated? What do you drink so you can drink all day?
Update: I found this article with pictures of wee colour and suggestions on how much to drink per kg!