There is a chronic overconsumption of sodium in the average Canadian diet. The recommended daily upper limit of sodium intake is 2,300 mg but most Canadians are consuming nearly 3,400 mg per day. Overconsumption of sodium is primarily a result of the prevalence of processed foods in our daily routine. With sodium-related health concerns such as heart disease and hypertension on the rise, many people are hesitant to pick up the salt shaker. But if you’re a warm weather runner the rules are different for you.
People sweat on average 1,200 mL per hour during exercise. After water, the main electrolyte in sweat is sodium. Someone can lose anywhere from 115 to 2,000 mg of sodium per 1,000 mL of sweat. On a three-hour run the average marathon runner would lose 3,600mL of fluid, which means their sodium losses would be around 3,000mg.
Post workout, it’s important to replace the sodium you have lost. Failing to do so can result in muscle cramps, headaches, and an inability to properly rehydrate. Understanding how much sodium is in your diet is important to know how much more you need to consume to replenish your stores. A good way of checking the sodium you already consume is by looking at nutrition labels. Processed foods are our primary source of sodium.
It’s recommended to slowly replenish your stores over the course of the day as opposed to filling up on one sodium-laden meal. A simple way to up your sodium intake is to add a little bit of salt to your water and to breakfast foods. A shake of salt on top of oatmeal or toast with peanut butter can actually enhance the flavour. Other healthy snacks to help replenish your sodium stores are: pretzels, olives, pickles, cheese, tomato juice, store-bought cereal or granola. Working any of these foods into your daily routine can help maintain salt levels without sending you into sodium overload.