Sodium, potassium, chloride, magnesium and calcium are major electrolytes. They are responsible for making sure the body’s fluid levels are balanced. These minerals are ionic. They enable electrolytes to transport electrical energy and keep the body to function properly.
Imbalance in electrolyte can have different symptoms. Such symptoms are nausea, vomiting, muscle cramps, labored breathing, body weakness or overall fatigue.
For runners, you need to keep your electrolytes balanced for a successful training and optimum performance. When hiking, biking, mountain climbing, dehydration can be a big problem when the weather heats up and may lead to the risk of heat stroke or another heat-related illness. If you are and intense athlete sports drinks is your best choice to stave off fatigue, run faster, have better motor skills, and be mentally sharper as shown in a study.
For athletes, electrolytes are primarily lost through sweating. Fluid loss exceeding 1-2% and 4% of body weight can cause significant problem of dehydration and can cause a drop-in performance and critical failure. Hydration before and during longer athletic events should contain electrolytes and not just plain water because although water replaces fluid losses, it dilutes electrolytes.
Electrolytes are lost through your sweat when you run.
Potassium is the main component found in the cells. It is responsible for the contraction of muscles. Without sufficient potassium, your muscles cannot generate the necessary nerve impulse that control the contraction and eventually results to cramping.
Sodium, chloride, and sodium keeps your body fluids in balance, as well as maintaining cellular homeostasis, and regulates nerve impulses.
Sodium is the most significant kind of electrolyte. Together with potassium, they can provide the right nutrients to help remove waste from the body. With sodium, it helps in water retention. Sodium should be consumed together with the rest of electrolytes. Together, they can properly assist in avoiding electrolyte imbalance. If you take only one, it can cause issues such as swelling of your feet, ankles, and hands.
Calcium inside your body fluids is also important. It helps with muscle contractions and intracellular messaging. You can easily lose high amounts of calcium through sweating. Sports drinks or supplements containing high amounts of calcium can cause an increase of your bone density.
Magnesium is also important when it comes to nerve impulses, muscular contraction and aids in producing energy.
Caffeine drinks like soft drinks is not good for sports. It does not replenish what the body needs because they have no electrolytes. It has laxative effect and can worsen dehydration experienced with heavy exercise. Electrolytes sports drinks provide energy during intense workouts and will not make your body overheat because it provides your body with the right quantities of fuel and don’t cause an upset stomach. However, water is sufficient for less-intensive exercises. But don’t drink fruit juices before exercises because of their concentrated form of carbohydrate that might cause an upset stomach.
Before trying electrolyte supplements, monitor your thirst after you run and the color of your urine. Be aware of the sugar contents of your sport drinks when replenishing electrolytes.