I finished pedaling and swung my leg off the bike. My bike shorts and jersey had telltale signs of salt markings on them. Once I cooled down, any exposed skin was like sandpaper. I was like a human French fry.
I have trained for 8 Ironman distance triathlons. That includes a lot of time both biking and less but significant time running. I am what you’d call a fairly salty sweater.
But even if you’re not exercising outdoors in the heat, exercise of any kind, and menopause with its hot flashes, night sweats or not… can also increase your need for electrolytes.
To really hydrate is about much more than water. In this episode, I share information about electrolytes and how to get started down a path toward less water retention and more energy with some basics.
Some women in menopause say they just aren’t thirsty. There may be some changes to the thirst mechanism during menopause (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3984489/) and some hormonal imbalances may have a diuretic effect on women. Lack of thirst isn’t a cue you don’t need to hydrate. It may be a reason to be more diligent so you can maintain energy, brain function (mood, cognitive function) and feel optimal.
Retaining water, having hot flashes, heavy sweaters, or drinking lots of water and constantly in the bathroom???
This is for you.
What are Electrolytes?
Defined: Electrically charged minerals that play a vital role in various physiological functions.
Electrolytes maintain fluid balance and brain function.
Electrolytes can play a vital role in mitigating menopause symptoms by maintaining fluid balance, and temperature regulation.
If you’ve experienced brain fog, memory laps, or mood swings… they can be exacerbated during heat waves.
Excessive sweating (whether you see and feel it, or whether you don’t) can deplete the body’s water and electrolyte stores, so it’s important to replenish them:
- In everyday midlife
- Additionally, during high heat
When You Might Need Hydration Beyond Water
It’s related to many things of course, but low electrolytes can be one. For menopausal women consuming electrolytes daily, not just in hot weather can help reestablish fluid balance.
Surprise! Restricting sodium intake isn’t necessarily the cure for fluid retention. Adequate electrolytes influences adequate hydration and that helps prevent fluid retention and natural detox. Drinking more water and peeing constantly? You’re not actually hydrating. Try slowing down on how quickly you add water. In addition, consider adding some salt to your water.
Exercise Gets Hard Fast
A woman here in Phoenix yesterday thought hiking in 118 heat midafternoon was a good idea and got heat stroke. You don’t have to be that, um, shall we say silly, to compromise not just your exercise, but your health. If you’re dehydrated, your blood thickens. Your oxygen delivery to working muscle, AND to help dissipate heat, deteriorates very quickly. If you hit that point, you can’t go back. You want your blood and oxygen to flow easily through your system to keep the stress on your heart (doing all the pumping) mitigated. Obviously, make wise choices, but being hydrated before you begin, having extra electrolyte-rich drinks during, and rehydrating after are key steps. When heat and/or humidity climb, this isn’t a practice just for days you exercise, it should be a daily habit.
Other Signs of Low Electrolytes:
Headaches, muscle cramps, twitches, or spasms. Feeling breathless too soon, dizziness associated with low blood pressure… all may be supported by increasing your electrolytes. Plus…
Your heart and your adrenals also need them!
There’s more. That belly fat may be lessened by way of improving insulin sensitivity.
You’re losing sodium when you sweat. So naturally if you’re sweating more you’re losing more sodium. Your personal needs will vary from someone else.
There’s a theory here in the literature that salty sweaters may be simply excreting high sodium in their diet. I am but a study of one, but I can vouch for the fact this isn’t true. I have a low to moderate sodium intake compared to SAD but have a higher salt loss in sweat. (you can test your sweat rate and if you’re an athlete training long or frequently it’s a good idea – in or outdoors)
How to Begin Hydrating with Electrolytes:
Start with some water. (made with Himalayan pink salt) https://www.flippingfifty.com/hot-weather-hydration/
I describe this process in a post here. It’s simple, natural, and easy. When you can’t do it or aren’t at home, there are other options.
If you’re investing in something like Athletic Greens, that can help by boosting your magnesium. Adding leafy greens to your smoothies and eating some extra greens (maybe straight from the garden can boost your magnesium too).
Especially if you’ve been avoiding or reducing sodium, you may want to reconsider. Unless you have a medical condition, many women (and men) have been using such low sodium levels that they’re lacking in this electrolyte balance.
Choose a clean electrolyte product: without sugar, artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives. Take one serving a day.
I’m using LMNT most recently for activity. (No association – I just like the flavors). During exercise, I use a packet in 16 ounces of water. (more concentrated to support sweat rate) During the day I’ll dilute that in 24-30 ounces of water and drink it throughout the day (every day – not just on exercise days). For those of you who say you “get bored” drinking plain water, the flavor will help.
Try the sole water for an everyday solution, and the LMNT or a clean electrolyte you like for exercise.
If you’re in the bathroom more often than you’d like, slow down on the volume of water OR add electrolytes. You may not actually be hydrating at all with all that water. Sodium helps you put it to use for the cells in your body.
My Electrolyte Favorites:
MiTox by Bridgit Danner
Wildlytes by Teri Cochrane USE DEBRA10 for a discount!
Sole with Himalayan Crystal Salt: https://www.flippingfifty.com/himalayancrystalsalt
Other Episodes You May Like:
Hot Weather Hydration: https://www.flippingfifty.com/hot-weather-hydration/
All about Electrolytes After 50 | Not Your Kid’s Sports Drink: https://www.flippingfifty.com/all-about-electrolytes/
EASY, EFFORTLESS, PROTEIN: https://www.flippingfifty.com/protein – take 10% off by registering for Subscribe & Save, and don’t forget to order Fiber Boost. For regularity, and fullness, and satiety, there is NOTHING like combining protein and fiber.
Chocolate Protein Ice Cream | Healthy Treats: https://www.flippingfifty.com/chocolate-protein-ice-cream/
3-Ingredient Protein Ice Cream | Healthy Treats: https://www.flippingfifty.com/protein-ice-cream/