Noakes, Tim. Waterlogged: The Serious Problem of Overhydration in Endurance Sports. Campaign: Human Kinetics, 2012.

I have to start off by saying I had an acute interest in the subject of hydration in sports because I have a difficulty drinking enough fluids all the time and not just when I’m exercising. I am not an endurance athlete. I have never even run a marathon, but the question of just how much water should I be drinking has haunted me for years. You always hear the same old sermon, “drink more water.” Whatever your intake, double it. Triple it. That’s what I constantly heard. It was shocking to hear otherwise. Less is more in the world of sports. Who knew? But what Dr. Noakes has to say makes sense.

To carry around Waterlogged was a mini strength training routine in its own right. This is not a small manual on hydration rules for the ultra-marathoner. This is a extensively thought out, scrupulously researched, carefully documented and well written textbook on why over-hydration is not only a problem it is potentially deadly. Noakes outlines cases of athletes collapsing and dying from hyponatremia or water intoxication. He provides charts and graphs and scientific research to illustrate many different things including how water forces the balance of electrolytes and sodium out of balance and how this is potentially a bad thing; how is can be nearly impossible for the body to recover from. Noakes delves in to the murky world of marketing to illustrate how products like Gatorade are brainwashing our society to believe we cannot be athletes without them. While all the scientific data looks daunting readers shouldn’t be intimidated by it. Noakes uses a language that is straightforward and concise.

postscript: it took me a few weeks (and one very long flight) to read the July issue of Runners World so it wasn’t until after I wrote this review that I discovered a quote from Dr. Noakes and a mention of his book Waterlogged.

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