Should You Add Salt To Water After A Workout?

It’s a bit odd, but you could benefit from it.
Marco VDM via Getty Images

If you frequently do high intensity workouts or you’re training for a marathon or triathlon, you should be adding a little salt to your water after exercise (apparently).

According to dietician Danielle Crumble Smith, adding salt to your water can increase hydration, especially in circumstances where you might be sweating heavily or losing water and electrolytes rapidly.

Speaking to Health, she said: “This is due to the role of sodium, a key component of salt, in the body’s hydration process. Sodium works like a magnet to draw water into cells, which is critical for maintaining hydration.”

So, should you add salt to your drinking water?

Speaking to Nike, dietitian Ashely Harpst said you should keep the following in mind before adding salt to your water:

Acknowledge the intensity and duration of activity, as well as the weather

You’re thinking of replenishing sodium that’s lost during exercise, so that will depend on how much you’re sweating. For example, if it’s humid, Harpst suggests drinking water with salt more often, rather than drinking a lot in one session.

Think about the sodium content in your diet

Salt isn’t your only source of getting enough sodium in your body and Harpst adds that you can improve your sodium levels with pre-workout meals and snacks such as pretzels.

Identify whether you’re a “salty sweater”.

Harpst says that if you tend to have white residue on your skin or streaks on your clothing when you work out, you’re likely to be shedding sodium when you sweat and you need to replenish that through food and drink.

Keep an eye out for signs of low sodium

One way to know if you need to increase your sodium level is whether you’re experiencing muscle cramps during and after your workout, Harpst says. That can be a telltale sign of electrolyte imbalance.

She adds that if you do want to add a little salt to your drink, a small packet of salt found in restaurants is ideal to carry around with you – add it to 250ml of water and you’re good to go.