ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Exercise, Hot Climates and Sodium Loss through Sweat

Updated on June 1, 2019
profile image

I have a wide range of interests including exercise (cycling and swimming), nutrition, cryptocurrencies, website design.

Lack of Sodium? We're Told Low Salt Diets are Good for Us!

Sodium and our water levels are one such example of where our body needs balance. We all hear about the effects of too much sodium - It's a sad fact that most people these days live sedentary lives, often consuming processed foods that contain too much salt (for their lifestyle) - therefore the recommendation by WHO of 2000mg of sodium per day (about 5 grams of salt) is sensible.

However, what about the effects of too little sodium? If your body needs a certain amount of sodium in order to regulate many bodily functions (including dispersing water throughout the body), then it's also possible to have too little sodium too (a medical condition known as hyponatremia). I was one such person to suffer from this condition, confirmed by medical tests in my local hospital.

How on earth did I get to the point of not having enough sodium in my body?! I'm a healthy person - I cook wholefood meals, I exercise regularly. I consider myself to be health conscious. How can it be that I even suffered the symptoms of hyponatremia for many weeks - dizzyness when standing up, muscle weakness, monstrous fatigue? One word: sweat.

Low sodium: a pitfall to look out for if you sweat regularly.
I live in Thailand, and I love to swim and cycle. Particularly with cycling, you can imagine I sweat a lot in such a hot country. Of course, I don't go cycling in the midday sun (despite being an Englishman, I don't like to be with the mad dogs at that time of day!) - I cycle in the very late afternoon / early evenings. It's still hot though, and I sweat tremendously throughout the 90 minutes or so of cycling. I would carry water with me, which on an immediate level, satisfied the dehydration I would feel during the bike ride. However, I would drink just plain water. That meant I was replacing the water I lost, but not the sodium! My black backpack would actually show the white stains of salt that had leaked from my body. In effect, I was losing sodium, while ensuring I was hydrated - thus causing an imbalance between my water and sodium levels. This process was repeated every time I went cycling. Over time, I started to feel more and more fatigued. I would get dizzy when standing up suddenly, wake up too early, suffer muscle weakness and not be able to concentrate so well. In the end, I had to get professional help.

Nutrition and sodium
Now let's talk about sodium intake. It's interesting to note that many traditional Thai dishes are well...rather salty. Unhealthy, right? It depends. Yes, it's unhealthy if you are not sweating much and your kidneys have to deal with all that sodium intake. But let's think this through here...the traditional Thai lifestyle of the fairly recent past was one of physical labour (farming) in a hot climate, long before the invention of air conditioning. It makes sense that the traditional dishes that survive generations are ones that give people the most strength and vigour. Therefore, that extra sodium in a Thai dish helps counteract the sodium lost in excessive sweating.

Of course, everything depends on your lifestyle and how much sodium you are losing through activity / hot conditions. Nowadays, many Thai people spend most of their time in air-conditioned rooms, and have less physical jobs than the previous generations once had. A diet that gave strength to the physical labourer might be unhealthy to the sedentary person living in an air-conditioned room all day.

In no way am I suggesting ANYONE consume more salt. I am not a medical professional, and I cannot offer any advice to any individual other than to consider their own lifestyle and diet in relation to their body's sodium requirements. Consider the following:-

  • the climate you live in
  • how much exercise you do
  • how much you sweat

If you are a big sweater, this article is for you. It's for you to not see salt as a bad thing, but something that you need to consume a specific amount of to counteract the sodium you lose through sweat. This article is merely to bring attention to your body's sodium requirements. For you to take action, of course seeking medical professional advice is your next step.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)