Water Intoxication, Are you at Risk? How Hydration can slowly be Killing your Recovery.

Drink too much water and you can die!  Sound extreme? Yes, it’s true.  Consuming a large amount of water extremely fast can cause your salt saturation levels to plummet leading to a dangerous condition called hyponatremia or water intoxication.  But the odds of this are low if you are in good health and if you are spacing your water consumption throughout the day. There have been a few cases over the past twenty years of water intoxication, mainly during endurance events. That’s because even during exercise your body can only process and replace so much water at any given time. It turns out binge drinking water can be just dangerous as alcoholic beverages..

I would venture to say that most people are at risk of dehydration from drinking too little water.  Most people are not aware of how much water they should be drinking each day to replace lost fluids and stay properly hydrated.   An easy way to estimate how much water you should be consuming is to take your body weight, divide it by half, then convert that number to ounces. Lets see how much water I should be drinking a day.water1

I take my weight, 170 pounds and divided by 2

170 ÷ 2 = 85 pounds
85 pounds = 85 liquid ounces
8 liquid ounces = 1 cup

85 liquid ounces = 10 ½ cups of water

At my body weight, 10 ½  cups of water is the amount of water I should be trying to drink throughout the day and as an athlete, I would say you can drink a few more cups over the suggested amount and be perfectly fine. That may seem like a ton of water, but your body is 70% water! If you are not re-hydrating and your overall water level drops by 5% you can start experiencing side effects of dehydration. At 10% drop in water levels, your body will be unable to process normal metabolic reactions at the normal rate.  Your metabolism is all the chemical processes and reactions that take place throughout your entire body to maintain life and that is the last thing you want to slow down. If your one of those people that believes you have a slow metabolism then dehydration could be contributing to that! Water may very well be the most valuable nutrient we have.  It helps regulates body temperature and transports all the other nutrients throughout our body! This is why drinking adequate amounts of water is so important in the recovery process for athletes.

What I like to do is carry around a refillable water bottle with me all day and just fill that up whenever it gets low.  At the end of the day, I end up drinking about 4-5 full water bottles and easily hit my water goal.  Soda, coffee, or tea unfortunately do not contribute towards your daily overall water goal because they can have a diuretic effect. These drinks will actually cause you to become more dehydrated. One thing I have noticed while riding my bike is I perform a lot better and become less tired when I have water readily accessible versus than when I have little or none.

The important thing to remember is to slowly drink all that water spread out throughout the day and not all at once. I have been achieving my daily water goal for over 5 years now and I consider adequate water consumption to be one of the most important factors in overall health and staying injury free.

-Nick Picchetti L.M.T.
Scheduling Info

Body Weight

Liquid Ounces Cups of Water



5 cups



6 ¼ cups



7 ½ cups



8 ¾ cups



10 cups



11 ¼ cups



12 ½ cups

220 110

13 ¾ cups