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BENEFITS OF ELECTROLYTES FOR GOOD HYDRATION FOR RUNNERS AND ATHLETES

 

WHAT ARE ELECTROLYTES?

 

Electrolytes are sodium (Na+), potassium (K+), calcium (Ca 2+), magnesium, (Mg 2+), chloride (Cl-), phosphate (PO4 2-), bicarbonate (HCO3-), and sulfate (SO4 2-).

 

Sodium, potassium, magnesium and calcium are the four major electrolytes that maintain the body’s fluid balance.

 

ELECTROLYTES BALANCE IS SUPER IMPORTANT FOR RUNNERS AND ATHLETES

 

For a runner, keeping our electrolytes balanced is key for successful training optimum performance, and good recovery.

 

If our electrolytes are imbalanced, we could potentially compromise the success of our next run because of muscle fatigue or cramping.

 

Unfortunately, drinking water alone isn’t enough. If we are trying to rehydrate by drinking a lot of water, failing to consume electrolytes at the same time can upset the balance of electrolytes in our bloodstream.

 

In a worst-case scenario, drinking lots of water during a very long run or race in the heat, this can even lead to a dangerous condition called hyponatremia, where blood sodium levels drop too low.

 

Therefore, keeping our electrolytes balanced is critical for both performance and health.

 

If we feel more frequent muscle cramps in the legs, stomach cramps or side stitches, this can also be the result of an electrolyte imbalance.

 

OTHER ELECTROLYTE IMBALANCE SYMPTOMS ARE

 

  • Muscle spasms

  • Dizziness

  • Fatigue

  • Nausea

  • Constipation

  • Dark urine

  • Decreased urine output

  • Dry mouth and bad breath

  • Dry skin

  • Muscle weakness

  • Stiff and achy joints

 

ELECTROLYTES BALANCE AND CRAMPING IN RUNNERS

 

While running we will lose electrolytes through our sweat, mainly sodium and potassium.

 

Potassium provides the movement of fluids and nutrients across our cells’ membranes, allowing them to carry on their metabolic activities such as contacting muscles.

 

Without sufficient potassium, our muscles cells can’t generate the necessary nerve impulses that control muscle contraction.

 

Cramping is the body’s way of letting us know our body is empty of the electrolytes.

 

Even if we never experienced cramping, electrolytes need to be replenished after sessions longer than an hour to facilitate optimal recovery.

 

ELECTROLYTES AND RUNNING PERFORMANCE

 

Even when we don’t run, train or race in extreme heat, maintaining our electrolyte balance has its advantages.

 

ELECTROLYTES AND OVERALL HEALTH AND PERFORMANCE

 

Hydration and electrolytes have a profound influence on our mental and physical performance.

 

The reason for that is because when our body comes to cramping, it also control our muscles and depth of focus and thinking. Even when not running, our nerve cells require electrolytes in order to function.

 




 

THE BEST WAY TO REPLACE ELECTROLYTES

 

Now that we understand the function and importance of replenishing our electrolytes, we can focus on the best possible options to replenish quickly and efficiently.

 

We can always focus for electrolyte drinks like Gatorade and Pocari Sweat, but those often contain higher amounts of simple sugar. To consume these types of electrolytes drinks during long-distance runs or races are good sources of refueling.

 

When we’re replenishing electrolytes throughout the day, we shouldn’t be consuming high amounts of simple and artificial sugars regularly. Unfortunately, most sports beverages don’t contain nearly enough sodium to replenish what a runner needs.

 

That's why I recommend good brands of electrolytes powder or tablets

 

FOR SODIUM, SHOULD WE ADD MORE SALT TO OUR FOOD?

 

Just because sodium is an electrolyte, our daily sodium consumption will not replenish our electrolyte loss from our run.

 

Sodium causes water retention. Consuming sodium alone and not in combination with other electrolytes, which may cause severe swelling of our hands, feet and ankles.

 

After our run, if sodium is consumed in high amounts without other electrolytes to balance, it neutralizes the hormonal system and disrupts the bodies regulation processes. Sodium should be consumed with other electrolytes to assist proper electrolyte balance.


WHEN AND HOW MUCH TO CONSUME

 

  • When it comes to when and how much to consume electrolytes, we can follow basic guidelines for hydration during exercise.  

  • Hydrating during a workout or a race usually under 1 hour, we don’t need as much electrolytes if it last longer than an hour.  


As with almost everything in running, when it comes to losing and replenishing electrolytes every runner is different. Some runners are “salty sweaters” and some people sweat very little. That's why using electrolytes powder can tweak the amount based on the weather, our workout length/intensity, and according to our body type.


In the summer with heat and humidity, it's probably a good idea to add a few electrolytes to our water or other beverage we drink throughout the day. 

 




Focus On Good Daily Hydration And Electrolytes, Electrolytes Will Support Your Energy, Healthy Body, Better Runs, Great Performance, And Good Recovery!

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