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Water retention after exercise: 5 common causes and solutions

Water retention after exercise: 5 common causes and solutions

ater retention in legs and arms after exercise and on the ankles on warm days? We've got you covered!

Is it normal to retain water after working out?

Your body responds to the micro damages and inflammation in two ways that cause temporary water weight gain. The first is a healing response. Intense workout stresses our body in a positive way. That stress and micro-tearing damage to the muscle fibers induces water retention in the body. Your body releases cortisol during exercise, which can impact your fluids and cause your body to retain water. Also note that better blood flow leads to the swelling of the muscles. So, don’t panic. Allow your body to adjust to the workout routine and the bloating should disappear after a couple of weeks.

Instead of many trainings, Dr. Berg recommends one High Intensity Training (HIT) every second day combined with long walks every other day. If you do strength training at AURUM, you know that we've reduced the time and increased efficiency of high intensity strength training so you can train once a week and enjoy the rest of the week.

Unfortunately, water retention in legs, feet, hands and on the ankles occur in summer as well. Due to the warm weather, the vessels expand to release body heat. Consequently, the blood circulation slows down, the veins lose elasticity and water flows out of the vessels into the surrounding tissue.

What causes the body to retain water?

Sodium and potassium are in imbalance

Normally, most of the sodium is in the body cells, whereas most of the potassium is outside the cells. If we consume too much sodium, the exchange of the minerals slows down. A decrease in potassium slows down the exchange as well because it is the fuel for the exchange.

Too little water intake

Is this not a contradiction? No, because water keeps running the mechanisms of the body. If we drink too little water, the breakdown of the water retention slows down.


Mental stress, a calorie deficit, and too long too intense trainings, among others, lead to a higher cortisol level, which is one of the causes of water retention, especially in the legs. So, switch from 3-4 intense trainings to only one HIT session a week and use the time you've got for easy walks, swims and bike rides. Keep cool when it comes to cortisol. Some of these 40 stress release strategies might be the game changer.

The female cycle

During the second and fourth week of the cycle most women suffer from water retention. Oestrogen influences the circulation of the liquids and weakens the pump ability of the lymphatic glands. Therefore, they produce more water withholding hormones, like aldosterone, renin and angiotensin, which leads to water retention.


While being pregnant, a woman’s body holds more water than usually. It gets collected in the lower part of the body, especially, when the weather is hot, or when you stand for too long. Water retention is more intensive in the evening than in the morning and more likely the longer a woman is pregnant.

How do you get rid of water retention fast?

1. Drink a lot of water

Water is essential to kick start the mechanisms and go against water retentions. You should stay away from alcohol, as it dehydrates the body and leads the body to a water-storing reaction to compensate the lost liquids. This is another cause of water retention. Struggle to sip more water?

2. Hot/cold sequence showers

The alternation of hot and cold water helps to improve the blood flow. Consequently, the tendency towards water retention decreases. Additional massages help the lymph flow to get rid of access water in your body parts.

3. Algae oil, flax & coriander seeds

Take algae oil (we prefer this one) to benefit from the healthy Omega 3. Seeds are great as well as they are detoxifying, anti-inflammatory and improve the blood flow or even decrease swellings and pain.

4. Increase your potassium intake

Various potassium rich foods help decrease water retention, like rice, potatoes, dried fruits, bananas, melons, quinoa and avocado. Also, apple vinegar is rich in potassium, is anti-inflammatory and decreases swellings and pain. Tip: mix 1-2 tablespoons of raw, and naturally cloudy apple vinegar with a glass of water and drink it in small sips. Alternatively, you can soak a towel with the same mixture and put it on the affected body parts. Liquids rich in potassium? Herbal teas. Green tea or nettle tea help the drainage of the body.

5. Do the right exercise

For example, regular walks, which help the activity of the veins and the lymph vessels. This leads to a better endogenous back flow, helps the bloodstream, improves the blood flow and prevents liquid backlog. Swimming is also very beneficial because the hydrostatic function of the water pulls back the water retention. Combine low intensity activity with one HIT workout a week. It is also important that you do not just stand for too much time and give your feet a rest from time to time, especially when you are pregnant. Tip: lie on your back and put your lower thigh on a chair.

Lose water weight fast and safely and do not worry too much about water retention. And above all, enjoy summer to its fullest!


Fluid Retention
Dr. Berg on YouTube

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