The Magic of Electrolytes
It happened during a workplace team building activity a few years ago. As part of a “get to know your co-workers” session, our Vice President asked me, “If you were on a deserted island and could bring just one supplement, what would it be?” Without hesitation, I answered “Electrolytes!” I chose this answer because whenever I get low in electrolytes, I can literally feel an immediate negative impact on my body.
When I’m in a situation that involves sweating, such as exercising, where I lose electrolytes, my body NEVER responds well if I do not have proper replenishment. For example, I’m more likely to experience fatigue, I can’t think straight, my muscles will start to cramp, and I may even develop a headache. This is not how I would want to feel on a deserted island and definitely not how I would want to feel attempting to perform an exercise routine.
If you have felt this way during a workout, or during any activity that is causing you to perspire, perhaps replenishing your body with an electrolyte supplement is just what you need.
Aside from good ole H2O, electrolyte-enhanced beverages are the top consumed beverage for sports teams for a reason––their functional capabilities. Drinking water alone is not enough. Electrolytes help to ensure the right amount of fluids are retained within the body. The four key electrolytes are sodium, potassium, calcium, and magnesium, which all have their own unique benefits regarding fluid balance and more. Below are some benefits of each, just to name a few:
• Sodium – helps to regulate water in the body, triggers neurological impulses (hence why I probably cannot think straight when dehydrated), cardiovascular health (referring to the heart, the most important muscle in my opinion) as well as energy metabolism.
• Calcium– helps with muscle repair and contraction (which is probably why I feel weak when in need of electrolyte and fluid replenishment).
• Potassium– helps with muscle function and counters too much salt in our bodies for proper fluid balance (too much sodium has a popular reputation for negative effects such as the creation of dehydration and blood pressure issues).
• Magnesium– helps regulate muscle and nerve function, keeps blood sugar and blood pressure healthy, as well as aids in energy metabolism and regulation of mood (I guess this explains why I can be “hotgry” excuse my fun wordplay).
If I am losing these key minerals in the electrolyte family when I sweat, it is no wonder my body feels the difference negatively on a hot day or during physical activity if replenishment fails to occur! Last but not least regarding benefits, I’m going to be a girl and mention the aesthetic long-term positive effect of electrolyte balance and proper hydration; which is healthy and hydrated skin! Feeling good and looking good sounds like a great plan to me!
How do you go about ensuring you stay hydrated and replenished you ask?
Electrolytes can be replenished in several ways through:
• Whole food items: avocados, yogurt, bananas, spinach, and kale to name a few.
• Electrolyte enhanced beverages such as sport drinks
• Electrolyte supplements, which are now available in powder form, sold in small tubs or convenient travel stick packs.
Before I leave you, I need to remind you that electrolyte replenishment is not just needed for those who engage in athletic activity (or are metaphorically trapped on a hot deserted island), but for ANYONE that perspires––human beings that are “humans doing”. This means your active soccer mom, construction worker, landscaper, dog walker, or beach bum in 90-degree heat! We ALL have bodies encompassed with electrolytes and need to be aware of why we may have an imbalance along with how to remedy this to feel and function at our best! If you know of anyone who may struggle with any of the symptoms mentioned here, please forward this article to them. Sharing is caring!
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Disclaimer: This content is for informational purposes only and is not meant as medical advice, nor is it to diagnose or treat any medical condition. Please consult your physician before starting or changing your diet or exercise program. Any use of this information is at the sole discretion and responsibility of the user.