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thebeave7 wrote:Well, whether or not it is a good idea depends on the individual and the type of activity being performed. I take electrolyte caps(home made) regularly while running during warmer months of the year(April-Sept), but usually only on runs of greater than 1hour in length, as much as 800mg/hour. Taking supplementary electrolytes, not just sodium salt, but potassium, magnesium, and calcium can be very beneficial if you are sweating quite a bit. This is a very regular practice among ultra marathon runners, who's 3-35 hour races can severely deplete electrolyte stores within the body, to the point where just drinking water can cause hyponatremia, which can be just as dangerous as dehydration, if not more so.
So the general answer is yes, it can be safe and is something that many people practice. In regards to you specifically it depends on the level of exertion you are planning and how much you sweat during exercise. Personally I'm a high salt sweater, meaning that when I sweat I develop a lovely crust of salt on my skin(I can even chip off flakes sometimes), so I have to supplement more than others might. If you are hiking at a low level of exertion, then just eating some salty foods should suffice, but if you wish, supplementing your water with 100mg of salt per 12-20oz (give or take a little) can be beneficial to hydration. Many of the drink mixes you buy (Gatorade, GU2O, Heed, Accelerade, and so on) for hydration include between 50-200mg of sodium per 12oz exactly for this reason. If you feel that you're drinking lots of water, peeing a lot, but still feeling the effects of dehydration then maybe try supplementing with a little salt. Remember, everything in moderation.
The reason MDs tell people not to take extra salt is that many people eat way too much in their daily diet, thus don't need the extra, just look at your specific situation. I try to avoid all those prepackaged meals, microwave dinners, and canned foods specifically for that reason, they are insanely high in sodium.
Would using salt tablets stave off leg cramps? I've done the Denver marathon the last two years and in each one have had major leg cramps in both hamstrings and calves. It especially sucked last year when I was primed to qualify for Boston and then fell 5 minutes short because the cramps killed me at 23. Its like a huge flash of pain, one second Iâ€™m fine and the next I'm on the side of the road in agony trying to stretch out my legs. Any suggestions to stop this? The first year I used Gatorade ever five miles and one GU at 20. In 08 I used Gatorade every two miles and GUs every 30 minutes. I don't really feel like launching another marathon campaign until I can figure out what Iâ€™m doing wrong. Your insights would be greatly appreciated!
- lazy climber
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For those that take a lot of sodium tablets while exercising it might be good to get some blood work done and see what your sodium levels are, high levels are not such a good thing.
Muscle cramps during exercise could be several things, calcium and potassium (electrolites) deficiency could be an issue, but what do I know????
Ask your doctor about those kind of things.
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Salt pills should not be sodium chloride ( table salt ). They should be a mix of salts, potassium chloride, sodium chloride, calcium chloride, magnesium chloride, etc.
I have always had problems with cramping muscles. My father told me it is probably an electrolyte imbalance. I have used salt pills for about 4 years now, I used to use E-mergenC. The salt pills are easier to take and more affective.
That being said, a doctor I am not, so if you are concerned or have a history of high blood pressure, talk to yours.
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lazy climber wrote:For those that take a lot of sodium tablets while exercising it might be good to get some blood work done and see what your sodium levels are, high levels are not such a good thing.
My daily salt intake is very low, I don't eat prepackaged foods, and cook for myself pretty much every night. As I mentioned above, everything in moderation, I only take high amounts of salt on hot days when I sweat a lot, this time of year I really don't take any when running.
As mentioned above, cramps could be caused my electrolyte deficiencies, drinks like gatorade only replenish a small amount, and during a race like a marathon you'd be lucky to drink enough gatorade to take in 200mg of sodium, not really enough for a 3-5h run if its moderately warm out(for many runners). Cramps could also be caused by a whole host of things, could just be muscle fatigue as well, or dehydration, or who knows. No harm in experimenting with some E-caps(small amounts of electrolytes).
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