1. Salt restriction is recommended in the treatment of hypertension and is included in national dietary guidelines, but its effect on exercise in hot conditions has not been extensively studied.
2. The effects of 2 weeks on two levels of salt intake (50 and 150 mmol/day) on the ability to exercise (60% of maximal oxygen uptake) in a hot environment (35°C) were studied in eight healthy normotensive subjects.
3. All subjects were able to complete the exercise load on the two levels of salt intake. No differences in mean oxygen uptake, heart rate or rectal temperature during exercise were observed between the two salt intakes.
4. Plasma sodium, potassium and osmolality were similar on the two salt intakes both before and during exercise. Plasma renin activity and aldosterone concentration were elevated after 2 weeks on the reduced salt intake and remained so during exercise.
5. The estimated sweat rate during exercise was similar on the two salt intakes but the loss of sodium was less on the low salt intake.
6. On the basis of these results it is concluded that moderate salt restriction does not impair the ability to exercise in a hot environment.