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Of Water, Salt And Death


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#1 Juanitant

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Posted 06 June 2010 - 10:26 PM

I was very surprised and deeply shocked watching 60 minutes today to hear that people actually die on the Kokoda Trail because they have not been taught about water and salt. I would have thought it was one of the most fundamental things to teach people doing physically demanding things in a hot climate: drink plenty of  fluid but also keep up your electrolytes. There is a number of ways of doing this:

1. Make sure to have a good salt content in your diet - some do gooders try to tell us that salt is bad for us but this originates from a very low percentage of people who get high blood pressure from salt - a very rare condition indeed. Salt restriction may cause you to drop dead now!

2. Add electrolytes like Staminade, Sports Plus, Isostar or even just some salt tablets to your drink rather than have pure water which will leach out all of your vital electrolytes

3. Don't drink absolutely copious amounts, listen to your body rather than someone who may not know the full truth

Happy hiking!


Dr Angie Hayes (BSc, PhD)
Biochemist / Nutritionist


#2 crowie

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Posted 07 June 2010 - 06:53 AM

All good advice, however Kokoda is a tough ardous trek in hot and Humid conditions. One of the people tested said that he had drunk 10 litres of water. That sounds extreme until you analyse it....if he had been walking for 5 hours thats 2 litres of water per hour......Most advise for fluids in hot humid extreme physical conditions is that two litres of water per hour should be drunk....advice offered is to listen to your body and drink when thirsty......also very difficult in conditions such as Kokoda.....its a fine line between Dehydration and Hyponatremia with Nausea, dizziness and vomiting common symptons to both....Are the electrolyte drinks such as poweraid and gatorade sufficient.....I think that better supplements may be available for endurance atheletes which may provide better protection against low sodium levels
At the end of the day its good advice to build up into walks of this nature with "acclimitising" this allows you to get used to how your body will cope....what sort of drinks / supplements will work....Its worth noting that most walkers are coming from a temperate climate (hopefully with lots of training) into a hot humid climate....than add the nature of the terrain. Whilst in the Army we were subjected to this type of climate change and it was very obvious that a great percentage of personel suffered heat stroke / heat exhaustion until the body had adjusted to the conditions....this was normally 4-5 days

#3 Fluppy

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Posted 07 June 2010 - 01:01 PM

Important thing here is to listen to your body.  What works for some may not work for others as each person distributes, uses and processes fluids differently.  Small sips frequently is far better than gulping copious amounts down quickly (unless of course you actually WANT to incurr a stitch or throw up).  Check the colour of your pee for an idea - if it's dark, you need to drink more.  If you're peeing out water as fast as you are drinking it, then you are probably overdoing it.   If you are cramping in the legs or shoulders & you have already adequately stretched, then you may need more salt - as lack of salt can lead to cramping & muscle spasms.

Staminade helped me a fair bit - with added magnesium in it, I found it was just the right amount for my body.  Some other sports drinks are not all what they're cracked up to be and can actually do more harm than good.

fluppy

#4 Saloo8

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Posted 07 June 2010 - 04:54 PM

QUOTE(Fluppy @ 7 Jun 2010, 01:01 PM) View Post
Important thing here is to listen to your body.  What works for some may not work for others as each person distributes, uses and processes fluids differently.  Small sips frequently is far better than gulping copious amounts down quickly (unless of course you actually WANT to incurr a stitch or throw up).  Check the colour of your pee for an idea - if it's dark, you need to drink more.  If you're peeing out water as fast as you are drinking it, then you are probably overdoing it.   If you are cramping in the legs or shoulders & you have already adequately stretched, then you may need more salt - as lack of salt can lead to cramping & muscle spasms.

Staminade helped me a fair bit - with added magnesium in it, I found it was just the right amount for my body.  Some other sports drinks are not all what they're cracked up to be and can actually do more harm than good.

fluppy

Good points Fluppy.

Having read a few comparison reports on sports drinks, the recommended "best" one would be ENDURA.  It has magnesium in it and has a higher carb content than other drinks too, including Gatorade and Musashi.
I've been drinking it as part of my training program and a few weeks ago I got quite slack and wasn't bothering.  Within a few more days I was experiencing cramps in my calves which showed me how important the magnesium is.

#5 peterh13

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Posted 07 June 2010 - 06:43 PM

Its all good advice. Im doing a hike in New Zealand in february so I'll try the Endura, we took staminade to PNG and it was great.
Did anyone see the lost battlefield on Sunday night channel 7. Less than a kilometre from where weve aall walked was an overgrown battle filed, it was just amazing.

http://www.thelostbattlefield.com.au/
Prepare for the worst and dare the good Lord to dissapoint you.

Non semper erit aestas.

#6 Fluppy

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Posted 07 June 2010 - 09:42 PM

QUOTE(peterh13 @ 7 Jun 2010, 06:43 PM) View Post
Did anyone see the lost battlefield on Sunday night channel 7. Less than a kilometre from where weve aall walked was an overgrown battle filed, it was just amazing.

http://www.thelostbattlefield.com.au/


Yeah, I did.  Brought chills to me once again and for a moment - I was actually back there.  It really was amazing

#7 crowie

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Posted 07 June 2010 - 10:23 PM

Excellent article......Peter Cosgrove showed much respect when he told the story of both sides, I have seen the japanese mountain gun positions and lots of pits lying around with mortar cases etc (unaware there was more to the west) Had always imagined that when reading The field Guide to Kokoda, the australian advance on Eora Creek was from the high ground to the west..the troops had suffered heavy losses attacking the well sited japanese positions directly from Eora Creek......great story and great idea from Brian Freeman to make it a standing museum....

#8 peterh13

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Posted 08 June 2010 - 03:41 PM

It will mean another trip in a couple of years to see it all.
Prepare for the worst and dare the good Lord to dissapoint you.

Non semper erit aestas.

#9 crowie

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Posted 09 June 2010 - 09:36 AM

Was thinking about another trip...time to get back into some training and go back and check it out

#10 peterh13

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Posted 09 June 2010 - 04:55 PM

Is going to be a while before I can get back. Next february we are doing Milford Sound in New Zealand, maybe the year after that. I want to do Shaggy Ridge and the Black Cat trail rather than Kokoda again.
Prepare for the worst and dare the good Lord to dissapoint you.

Non semper erit aestas.

#11 crowie

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Posted 10 June 2010 - 07:51 AM

Peter, Milford track sounds good..a good warm up for that would be the south coast track in Tassie....Its a great walk...Ironbound Range is very Kokoda like....very open and barren on the western side, and on the eastern side is muddy and jungle like with track  under canopy......  campsites are beside the ocean...favourite spot is Deadmans Bay which is the first campsite after Ironbound range....if you are lucky crayboats will be in the bay and its possible to buy a cray for dinner

#12 newscctv

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Posted 07 September 2010 - 08:33 PM

All good advice, however Kokoda is a tough ardous trek in hot and Humid conditions. One of the people tested said that he had drunk 10 litres of water. That sounds extreme until you analyse it....if he had been walking for 5 hours thats 2 litres of water per hour......Most advise for fluids in hot humid extreme physical conditions is that two litres of water per hour should be drunk....advice offered is to listen to your body and drink when thirsty......also very difficult in conditions such as Kokoda.....its a fine line between Dehydration and Hyponatremia with Nausea, dizziness and vomiting common symptons to both....Are the electrolyte drinks such as poweraid and gatorade sufficient.....I think that better supplements may be available for endurance atheletes which may provide better protection against low sodium levels.

At the end of the day its good advice to build up into walks of this nature with "acclimitising" this allows you to get used to how your body will cope....what sort of drinks / supplements will work....Its worth noting that most walkers are coming from a temperate climate (hopefully with lots of training) into a hot humid climate....than add the nature of the terrain. Whilst in the Army we were subjected to this type of climate change and it was very obvious that a great percentage of personel suffered heat stroke / heat exhaustion until the body had adjusted to the conditions....this was normally 4-5 days

#13 Rooster

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Posted 15 October 2010 - 04:41 PM

I drank about 6 litres of water a day - I also had a gastrolyte sachet in my drink at every break - morning tea, lunch & afternoon tea - I found they were great and I felt much better immediately after having them.

#14 peterh13

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Posted 24 October 2010 - 01:09 PM

We also did the gastrolite thing at least once a day. We were wandering chemist shops.
Prepare for the worst and dare the good Lord to dissapoint you.

Non semper erit aestas.

#15 Waza

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Posted 24 August 2014 - 12:14 PM

In response to the initial heading of this article, was coming across little memorials to those few people who did actually die whilst trekking the Track, a very sobering thought. A time to reflect and offer a prayer for that person and their family & friends. RIP

Regards
Waza




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