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good article on exercise and hydration in humans

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  • good article on exercise and hydration in humans

    Because summer is almost here...

    Tim Noakes on the serious problem of overhydration in endurance sports

    Tim Noakes is one of the big names in exercise science. His research is often controversial as it cuts against accepted (but faulty) dogma but he's gone a long way toward promoting our understanding of how exercise affects the body.

    If any of you are somehow bothered that this is an interview in a popular magazine, you can read more about his studies online, and you can find thorough analyses of his work at the sports-scientist run website, The Science of Sport.


  • #2
    I think running these marathons is a bit more extreme then what we do on horseback. I wouldn't want to scare anyone into not drinking enough. I lost a friend last year due to heat stroke because he did not drink enough before he went out to race (motocross).
    Derby Lyn Farms Website

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    • #3
      JER,
      Since you have been studying performing in hot weather, would you please refresh our memories as to the symptoms of heat exhaustion, heat stroke, and dehydration?

      In this article, he mentions that heat issues are different from the hydration issues.

      I can't seem to ride when it is hot and high humidity. I changed to a LAS endurance helmet, and tried it out today. It seems to have better airflow, but I'm just starting the experiment.
      http://www.actionridertack.com/p-965...il-helmet.aspx


      The cooling vest didn't work last summer. Maybe it was too loose, but it seemed to keep the heat in. No evaporation in high humidity, I guess.
      Intermediate Riding Skills

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      • #4
        It also says hyponatremia (which is a real problem) could come from drinking 40-50 ounces of fluid per hour over 4-5 hours. I don't know anyone involved in horse sports who does that! Yes, I will drink 48 ounces sometimes during a one-hour lesson, but that's one hour.

        I am not sure this is applicable to eventing...
        You have to have experiences to gain experience.

        1998 Morgan mare Mythic Feronia "More Valley Girl Than Girl Scout!"

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        • #5
          As someone who is susceptible to heat injuries (yeah low blood pressure!), I have gotten all sorts of bad info when it comes to heat, humidity and hydration.

          I can tell you that I can down 2 36oz Gatorades and at least double that in water the night before I have to stand out on a parade field in KY in July for an hour+ and still nearly pass out and people keep telling me to "drink more water" and "eat salty foods." I have still yet to find the secret recipe for that situation where I can make it through the whole dang ceremony standing up... I've also had the lovely experience of probably putting myself in a slighty hyponatremic situation this spring by downing 12L of water in an 8hr period(thank you Army training...), I thought my kidneys were shutting down that night as I had the worst back cramps ever and having to pee every hour. No thank you, I'll take the passing out and feeling like butt afterwards after that day!

          Being an eventer, we get to put on more gear and gallop around solid obstacles in the heat of the day compared to our other counterparts in dressage, hunters and jumpers, so I take this information to heart. Now JER, how does this relate to horses in the heat (+/-humidity) and how we keep them going?

          Heck, it's going to be in the 90s the next 3 days here with high humidity, so summer's here!

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          • #6
            I totally buy the idea that sports drink companies are hot to come up with 'reasons' that people have to buy their product.

            Personally, I find there are times in the summer that I can drink a pretty amazing amount of water. And the only idiots I see passing out at horse shows are wearing jackets in the heat.... And I don't think any amount of water is going to counter act that stupidity.
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            • Original Poster

              #7
              Originally posted by Derby Lyn Farms View Post
              I think running these marathons is a bit more extreme then what we do on horseback. I wouldn't want to scare anyone into not drinking enough. I lost a friend last year due to heat stroke because he did not drink enough before he went out to race (motocross).
              I'm sorry to hear about your friend.

              However, that is not how heat stroke works. Heat stroke is a catastrophic failure of the thermoregulatory system. It's one of the scariest things I've ever seen because it comes out of nowhere and the outcome is very uncertain.

              The Science of Sport did an excellent multi-part series on heat stroke a few years ago. This post, Heat Stroke: A problem of physiology, not fluid or environment, explains it detail.

              Originally posted by whicker View Post
              JER,
              Since you have been studying performing in hot weather, would you please refresh our memories as to the symptoms of heat exhaustion, heat stroke, and dehydration?
              The short version is this: heat exhaustion is when you are overheated but still sweating and responding 'normally' to the heat. If you take measures to get out of the heat or cool down (fluids, ice), you'll recover.

              Heat stroke is a life-threatening emergency. You are not sweating, you are in an altered state of consciousness, your thermoregulatory system is not functioning properly, your organs may be failing.

              Dehydration during exercise can lead to heat exhaustion. Heat stroke is a different animal and can happen to you if you're hydrated.

              Originally posted by quietann View Post
              It also says hyponatremia (which is a real problem) could come from drinking 40-50 ounces of fluid per hour over 4-5 hours. I don't know anyone involved in horse sports who does that! Yes, I will drink 48 ounces sometimes during a one-hour lesson, but that's one hour.

              I am not sure this is applicable to eventing...
              It's applicable to eventing because eventers are out all day in the heat/sun when they are at competitions. Hyponatremia, which is rare but very dangerous, usually happens in exercise/exertion situations to people who have been downing liquids to stay 'hydrated'. (I know someone who nearly died from hyponatremia during an open water swimming race. Luckily, a kayaker saw her go under.) The amounts vary based on an individuals weight and physiology.

              Dr. Noakes's research indicates that humans, like every other species on the planet, should rely on thirst as an indicator of when to hydrate. And that relates to horses, too. If you can lead a horse to water but can't make them drink, there might be a very good reason for it.

              (Please don't quibble here about horses and their 'special' water. Yes, I know those types exist. I'm speaking in general terms -- if your horse is not drinking at all over an extended period of time, you should be concerned.)

              Originally posted by Heliodoro View Post
              As someone who is susceptible to heat injuries (yeah low blood pressure!), I have gotten all sorts of bad info when it comes to heat, humidity and hydration.
              That's why I posted this here.

              As for how it relates to your horse, it's always good to understand that thirst is an excellent mechanism for hydration. If you're not thirsty, you can be pretty sure you're not dehydrated, and this holds true for your horse as well. Again, please don't start any special snowflake quibbles here, this is a general principle, and everyone also should be aware of their horse's 'normal'.

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              • #8
                I'd like to punch whoever came up with the "conventional wisdom" that people need to drink 64 ounces of water a day or whatever it is right in the mouth. I can't begin to describe how difficult it is to pry this bit of lore away from people who have SERIOUS problems with fluid retention, heart failure, kidney problems, etc. And it is STILL shoved down their throats by well-meaning but badly informed "experts".

                In most circumstances drinking a lot of water is no problem at all. But it is not the be-all and end-all of proper management of athletic endeavors or hard work in hot weather. And it can be a problem for a lot of individuals.

                The last time I was genuinely thirsty was after riding for an hour in Fresno, where it's bloody DRY. I just don't GET thirsty, rarely drink water, and rarely more than a few ounces at a time. I just don't like to drink much. I work with a couple of people who down JUGS of water every day, a couple in an 8 hour period sometimes. They claim they're always thirsty. We've all got a different thermostat.
                Click here before you buy.

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                • #9
                  Respectfully disagree with the article- common sense when riding will save your hide....and your horses' as well.
                  I live in South Florida- the tropical climate is tough on horses and humans during summer months. We are coming up on the worst months for heat in Florida: July and August. I do a lot of walking trails and always ride early in the morning or late in the afternoon/early evening. I always drink water during and after my ride. My horse always goes and drinks after I get off of her.
                  You know, science is a wonderful thing....but so is common sense.....if I had to choose, well..... Common sense it is!

                  This reminds me of a barn where I was checking the water one day of all of the horses and noticed one without a single drop in it's bucket. I was about to fill it and was stopped by a barn employee who told me "this horse pees too much because he drinks too much.....we ration his water." I was not too happy as it sounded pretty harsh and unfair to the horse. (Eventually left that barn.) But, common sense to me is giving a horse water- (but, of course, you can't make him drink! )
                  Lastly, a horse died recently because the barn owner was too lazy to fill/clean the water buckets....in the heat of June in South Florida!!! Her personal horse colicked badly and had to be destroyed. I only felt sorry for the horse and it's suffering- not the owner and her stupidity. Some people lack common sense or an ability to discern how things might appear to an animal. If it's empty, fill it up with water. Do not apply what is in this article to any horse- it is wrong, misleading and dangerous. If you want to give yourself heat stroke, be my guest- but please to not apply this to your horse who depends on you for proper care.

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                  • #10
                    RSEventer, did you read the whole article? Or any of it? The author says drinking nearly 2 liters an hour is dangerous. He specifically says DRINK WHEN YOU'RE THIRSTY, which is what you're describing.

                    It's not like he's saying don't drink at ALL or ration water when you're thirsty. It would not even be POSSIBLE to apply the theory he says is dangerous to horses, unless you're tubing them several times a day and dumping water into them. You know the old expression? You can lead a horse to water....

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                    • #11
                      I am always a very thirsty person and constantly have to have a drink at all times during the day, and a cup of water by the bed at night. I can't ever imagine drinking 2L in an hour. I find it hard to believe that many people would do this, even equestrians. I also race motocross and that is a lot more demanding then riding my horse over any course for the same amount of time. I stay hydrated, but no where near 2L in an hour. Maybe 1L in 2 hours? I don't know, I will have to pay better attention to how much I drink this weekend.

                      I remember a few years back a radio station had a water drinking contest and a woman died (yet won the contest) from drinking too much water.
                      Derby Lyn Farms Website

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                      • #12
                        I have no huge quarrel with the article, except to say that I am someone for whom the "drink when you're thirsty and that's good enough" tenet is a big fat Fail - I have to force myself to hydrate way ahead of thirst or I get heat exhaustion. Otherwise, it seems like the big takeaway is basically the same thing they tell the Komen 3-day walkers - one part sports drink (with e-lytes) for every two parts water, no?

                        That said, if this bit of pop-archeology/anthropology is what he's basing his theories on, I am really unconvinced. He's conflating tens of thousands of years of evolution, extrapolating the behavior of modern foraging people onto early hominids, and conveniently forgetting about the thousands of years of evolution - including adaptation to myriad climates - that we've undergone as a species since spreading out from Africa. This kind of stuff drives me batty.


                        "In the book you mention humans suffer from hyponatremia because they haven’t evolved to drink these large amounts of water. Can you explain this?
                        If you look at the history of evolution, it looks like we started in Africa on the savannah. We had to be hunters in midday heat. In Africa, the lions hunt at night, and they have brilliant vision. The Bushmen, who were the traditional hunters in Africa, won’t get out of their camps before 10 o’clock in the morning. They know that by then the lions will start to slow down, so it’s safe to be outside. So humans evolved to hunt in midday heat, and we developed this incredible capacity to sweat and to run, even though we’d become dehydrated. The great hunts that had been followed in Southern Africa could last for four to six hours. That’s how long it takes for a hunter to run an antelope down. It takes four to six hours before the antelope’s body temperature is so high that it becomes exhausted and has to stop running. That occurs at temperatures of 40 to 43 degrees centigrade, well over 100 degrees Fahrenheit.

                        We know now that humans evolved this incredible ability to hunt in the heat, and we must presume that they didn’t have access to water because they couldn’t carry much water with them. All they had was ostrich eggs which [they used as canteens and] only could contain a couple of liters [67 ounces]. So we know they had to have run without fluid ingestion. When they killed the animals, they would actually take the water content from the intestines. They would replace their fluid losses by drinking both the blood and the intestinal water content from the animals that they killed. So they had to wait until after they killed the animal until they could drink."

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                        • Original Poster

                          #13
                          Originally posted by baxtersmom View Post
                          That said, if this bit of pop-archeology/anthropology is what he's basing his theories on, I am really unconvinced. He's conflating tens of thousands of years of evolution, extrapolating the behavior of modern foraging people onto early hominids, and conveniently forgetting about the thousands of years of evolution - including adaptation to myriad climates - that we've undergone as a species since spreading out from Africa. This kind of stuff drives me batty.
                          I wouldn't agree with this description of Dr. Noakes. Or perhaps we should call him Dr. Dr. Noakes, as he holds separate doctorates in medicine and science. He's done loads of work in the sphere of exercise and physiology. You can read more about him here. If you go to PubMed and look him up, you'll get a list of 486 papers with his name on them. He has challenged many orthodoxies (like Gatorade's self-serving 'research'), and he's also evolved his theories and admitted when he was incorrect.

                          But as deltawave points out, we've been sold on the myth of HYDRATION! for a long time, with a lot of money and advertising behind it, and walls of 7-11 cooler cases full of sugary, colourful drinks to make believers out of us.

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                          • #14
                            I think the interview posted does a great job of explaining Dr. Noakes' ideas in an accessible way. The lack of potential buzzwords is refreshing!!

                            If you read this and think "no way, Noakes, I know I have to drink x amount of fluid to feel healthy, so your theory holds no water (har har)," you need to re-read! The reason this theory is rather compelling is that it doesn't advocate a set amount of hydration as the magic number for all bodies. This quote in particular makes a great deal of sense to me:

                            "The reality is you don’t need to be told when and how much to drink. We have a 300 million year developed system that tells you with exquisite accuracy how much you need to drink and when you need to drink. It’s called thirst. If you rely on thirst you won’t ever become dehydrated, and you won’t also ever become overhydrated."

                            He's essentially saying to drink when you're thirsty, and to stop drinking or refrain from drinking if you're not thirsty, whether before, during, or after exercise. I know that I am a pretty "thirsty" person; I drink quite a lot throughout the day, and if I start a ride thirsty, I'll end that ride with a headache. I also know that if I try to down a litre of water beforehand or during my ride, I'll feel sluggish and crampy. So, I drink enough to feel not thirsty before hand. I can generally go for the hour ride without another drink, but in the heat I'll keep a bottle handy.

                            As for horses, it seems relatively easy for this idea to cross over. I always offer my girl a bucket before we head out for our ride. If it's hot and we're working hard, I also offer her a drink during one of our walk breaks. More often than not, she doesn't want a drink --even when she's hot and sweaty -- so I figure, the times she does take a few sips, she needs it.

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                            • #15
                              We need to heed common sense! Drink when it's hot when you're spending time outdoors, exercising, even if you don't feel thirsty (that's my problem...I just don't get thirsty, and forget to drink water). And get some fuel (food) for energy. I forgot about those basic things, and today I almost passed out and fell off a tree while doing one of those adventure obstacle courses in 90 degree heat.
                              I had to be "rescued" and lowered down.
                              How stooopid of me. Not to mention embarrassing. Never happened to me before!
                              Ottbs - The finish line is only the beginning!

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                              • #16
                                Originally posted by JER View Post
                                I wouldn't agree with this description of Dr. Noakes. Or perhaps we should call him Dr. Dr. Noakes, as he holds separate doctorates in medicine and science. He's done loads of work in the sphere of exercise and physiology. You can read more about him here. If you go to PubMed and look him up, you'll get a list of 486 papers with his name on them. He has challenged many orthodoxies (like Gatorade's self-serving 'research'), and he's also evolved his theories and admitted when he was incorrect.

                                But as deltawave points out, we've been sold on the myth of HYDRATION! for a long time, with a lot of money and advertising behind it, and walls of 7-11 cooler cases full of sugary, colourful drinks to make believers out of us.

                                Well, it's hardly a description of Dr. Noakes - it's a critique of the quote where he describes the basis for his theories, which is flawed on several levels. Even if he is just trying to "talk down to the people's level" in a human-interest article, the anthropological examples he's cited are just plain wrong. Regardless of how many or what degrees he has.

                                And while I am indeed a fan of challenging orthodoxy, particularly when that orthodoxy may be perpetuated by those making a profit from it, one should no more swallow whole the challenging theory than one should fail to critique that which it challenges.

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