Why Do You Retain Water After Exercise?


You have just finished an intense workout, you're sweating, legs are tired and yet you feel bloated. Your stomach doesn't feel trim and hard, but rather a little soft. This problem can be due to water retention that occurs after exercising.


  • An intense workout, especially one with weight-lifting, can cause the body to retain water because water is attending to those muscles that are working overtime. Strengthening muscles or muscles that have been pulled or torn are areas where water travels to in order to heal.


  • You are not drinking enough water. When your body does not have enough water to keep the body hydrated, it tends to store or collect the water you do take in because it does not know when more will be coming. Drinking enough water allows your body to stop preserving, and you will notice less water retention.


  • If you did not previously have a routine workout and then started a high-intensity workout, your body can go into a sort of shock-like state. This extra stress has your body collecting nutrients and water to protect it. When you keep a routine workout, the body will get used to this sort of exercising and adjust.


  • A change in diet while exercising. Going from fast foods that are high in carbohydrates and sugars to protein, fruits and vegetables can produce reactions in the body of bloating and uncomfortableness. Eating foods that are high in salt will cause the body to bloat up. Diets that are high in sodium is one of the leading causes of water retention.

Expert Insight

  • Consider seeing a doctor. If you have tried everything else and have still noticed swelling or bloating in the body, consider seeing a doctor. Water retention may be a sign that there are problems with the liver or kidney, but it is very rare. A simple checkup or exam will determine if anything is wrong.

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