LEP Fitness


How to Replace Lost Salts from Exercise…

How to Replace Lost Salts from Exercise

We’re all aware that salt gets a bad press in relation to our diets – and we’re constantly being encouraged to reduce the amount we consume, whether it’s what we add at the table to our meals or the hidden salts we take in via snack foods or from ready meals.

What many don’t realise is just what an important part salt has to play in the overall functioning of the body and how it’s just as dangerous to not take in enough – especially if you’re exercising or have a strict keep fit regimen. However, sometimes the info is misleading – here’s what you need to know about salt, and how best to replace it after exercise…

Are there differences in types of salt?

Salt is salt, right? No, not at all. The salt that we add to our food or that goes into the foods we buy is often massively processed and has many of its essential elements stripped from it.

Table salt is manufactured on an industrial scale and heated to around 1200 degrees fahrenheit, then treated with caustic soda (which also ends up stripping it of useful minerals). By the time other chemicals are added to make the grains more uniform and easy to pour, you’re left with a product that isn’t very good for us at all and that can cause long term health problems.

For choice, and for adding to your diet, it’s usually recommended you choose true sea salt. This is a product which is not full of anti-caking agents, or unessential chemicals. It’s a pure product, it comes in larger grains – so you’ll use less and find your food has far more flavour.

Loss of salt through exercise

When we exercise, we raise our pulse rate and perspire. Through this perspiration we lose salt and other essential minerals such as potassium, magnesium and calcium. Grouped together these elements are known as electrolytes. Depending on the level of activity you’re undertaking, all of these have to be replaced in some way. The loss of salt will affect your ability to tell how thirsty you are, it can alter your body temperature and have a bearing on how much fluid your body retains.

Replacing salts after exercise

There’s a strong debate about how you should do this. For the most part, unless you’re working or exercising in an extreme environment (say for instance, you’re a chef working in a very hot kitchen) or your keep fit regime is perhaps to a military standard, then simply making sure you stay hydrated with the use of a specially formulated sports drink should be enough.

Drinks that will give you around “3-10% carbohydrates and 120-170 mg of sodium per 8 ounces of fluid” are the best to opt for if you’ve a lot of fluid to replace through loss of sweat during a high impact exercise plan.

In all honesty, making sure you have water and a sensible snack with protein in it should be enough to make sure you stay on top of your fitness and keep your fluid levels up if you’re a regular exerciser and gym bunny!