Q: "I do an hour of exercise, five times a week – mainly endurance training. On those days, I crave salty foods and have up to 3000mg sodium. Should I be concerned about my high sodium intake or is it okay, because I am sweating it out during my workouts?"
Alice Willenbrock, via email
A: Dietitian and exercise physiologist Caitlin Reid replies:
“When you sweat during prolonged exercise, you lose water and electrolytes – including sodium. It’s quite difficult to work out the body’s electrolyte loss post-workout, because the sodium content in your sweat is highly variable, and sodium is important, as it helps with rehydration postexercise. But if you’re exercising for less than 90 minutes, you don’t need to be too concerned about ‘replacing’ your sodium – particularly as most people consume too much as it is (we really only need 460–920mg per day). According to the National Health and Medical Research Council, the upper limit for sodium intake is 2300mg per day, so try to stay below this limit, even on the days you are exercising. If you have more questions, find a sports dietitian (www.sportsdietitians.com.au) – he or she can conduct a sweat analysis and provide you with individual advice.”