Everyone is aware of the importance of hydration during extreme physical activity and sports to maximize performance. Without hydration, the long periods of exercise and physical labor can lead to muscle cramps. But there are times when simple hydration isn’t enough to supply the proper amounts of electrolytes that support normal muscle function. As a result, athletes commonly drink salt water to prevent cramps. The sodium regulates the body’s fluid balance and supports nerve and muscle function.
Mix the salt water in a bottle, water jug or hydration bladder. The key to drinking salt water to prevent cramps is to have the water source convenient so you drink regularly.
Add about 1/4 to 1/2 tsp. salt per 32 oz. of water. Decrease the amount of salt for recreational activities and increase the amount for extreme activities or extreme environmental conditions such as heat or humidity.
Add sports drink mixes or water flavorings. The added flavor improves the drinkability of the water so you are more likely to drink during physical activity. These mixes typically contain additional nutrients that help the salt prevent cramps.
Drink the salt water every 20 to 30 minutes during exercise or physical activity. This consistent drinking prevents dehydration and cramps.
Total sodium intake should be about 10 to 25 g per day during training.