Should you consume extra salt when exercising in the heat?

Posted on 30-07-2020 , by: Nancy Clark , in , , 0 Comments

Perhaps —but each athlete is an experiment of one. Here’s just one example of what I mean by that. The Sanford Sports Science Institute (@SanfordSportSci) examined more than 500 sweat tests they had performed. The average sweat sodium loss was between 500 to 2000 mg (0.5 to2 gm) sodium, some athletes lost much more than that. Many lost 2000-4000 mg.; several lost 4000 to 6000 mg.; and one athlete lost about 7500 mg. sodium. Yes, the exercise intensity, environmental conditions and sport varied among the athletes, but the bottom line is: some athletes lost a lot more sodium in their sweat than did other athletes!

How do you know if you lose a lot of sodium in your sweat?
You can tell if you sweat more salt than your peers by noticing if you have a layer of gritty salt covering your skin after a hard workout. You might have salt stains on your hat or around the neck and armpits of your t-shirt. You might find yourself craving salty foods. Salt cravings are real. If you crave salt, you likely need salt.
Assuming you are a healthy athlete who sweats a lot, there’s no harm in shaking extra salt on your food both before and after you exercise to replace those losses—and there are benefits: better rehydration, quicker recovery, and “feeling better” overall. The easiest way to boost your salt intake is via the salt shaker. Buying “electrolytes” (i.e., sodium) tends to be a needless expense. You can just as easily eat salty foods both before and after you workout.

For more information about salt and salty foods, refer to my Sports Nutrition Guidebook

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