We have often been told that too much sodium is not good for you. It reduces your kidneys ability to remove water from the body and the extra strain on the blood vessels can result in High Blood Pressure which leads to heart attacks, stokes etc. However, maintaining a balanced sodium level is also crucial in a healthy fluid levels in the body.
So why is sodium important? This mineral enables your body to send messages to and from the brain, keeps your heartbeat regular, helps prevent muscle cramping and keeps you hydrated by helping your body retain water.
For those working out, especially in the extreme heat, regulating and ensuring you keep sodium levels balanced and replenished is extremely important. The minimum amount of sodium suggested per day is 1500mg and the maximum is 2300mg.
When you fall below the much-needed sodium levels it can lead to a dangerous condition known as hypernatremia, which can cause nausea, vomiting, confusion, headaches and those painful annoying muscle cramps. Along with potassium and other electrolytes, sodium allows the body to generate nerve impulses. These impulses tell the muscle to contract or expand.
During vigorous exercise you lose sodium (thus the salty sweat taste) and although it usually varies from person to person. The American College of Sports Medicine encourages 500-700 mg of sodium for every 32 ounces of fluid consumed during or after physical exercise. This can be in a post workout snack that contains sodium, adding salt to your meal or incorporating an electrolyte product. Personally I use Sea Salt on my post workout meal or add a pinch in my water to replenish. Sea salts can contain up to 84 minerals, which is an added benefit. Regular iodized table salt does not carry minerals due to the processing which keeps it from clumping.
The takeaway from this blog is to understand that although having too much sodium in our diet can be detrimental to our health and wellness, it is equally important to replace the much needed sodium back into our diet after a sweaty workout. So bring on the Margarita’s…(I kid…I kid)
– Aeryon xoxo
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