Using the best ways to replenish electrolytes with fluid and electrolyte balance to sustain your fitness game
Electrolytes… I swear I’ve heard that term somewhere? In fact, electrolyte imbalance has been a problem for as long as humans have had them. For some reason, however, they’re cropping up again in recent fitness trends.
Actually, after reading the reason that they are… I’m not surprised at all.
Electrolytes are incredibly important. So much so that not enough of them cause bad muscle contractions, muscle cramps, blood pressure issues, blood clotting and more.
But without just throwing scary medical issues at you, I guess I should explain them first…
Electrolytes are defined as ”minerals that carry an electrical charge. They’re vital for health and survival. Electrolytes spark cell function throughout the body. They support hydration and help the body produce energy. They’re also responsible for stimulating muscle contractions, including those that keep your heart beating.” – Healthline, 2019.
So… pretty important.
Let’s learn a little more about them, how you could be losing them without knowing and the best ways to sustain a healthy electrolyte balance.
Dehydration is a big cause of electrolyte loss. A rapid loss of fluids created from illness, sweating too much and other fluid loss issues will lead to imbalance if they’re not replaced.
In contrast, drinking too much water is said to be bad. Flushing out electrolytes through urinating, sweating and so on.
You need to be careful with kidney function here, too. If you have chronic kidney disease, and therefore high levels of potassium, this can lead to an electrolyte imbalance, every day of the week.
Healthline lists the following as results of electrolyte imbalances –
- muscle cramps, spasms, or twitching
- muscle weakness
- irregular or fast heartbeat
- extreme thirst
- fatigue or lethargy
- confusion or disorientation
- change in blood pressure
Some pretty nasty ailments in there. It’s clear that electrolyte levels affect your body’s health in so many ways. From simple fatigue to weakening bones, the list is extensive.
So, the golden question is – how do you begin replenishing lost electrolytes?
Diet, diet, diet – the most obvious and yet the most missed. The right diet literally contains the right electrolytes, from fruit to vegetables, make sure this diet is in keeping with the broader healthy diet you should be using anyway (wink, wink).
Avoid overheating – if you’re warm, you sweat, even the slightest of sweats can be wasting electrolytes, so make sure to keep your body temperature regulated.
Medication can be great. Meds like diuretics actually contain an electrolyte-inducing property, but as ever, don’t overdo medication or the reverse can happen.
It’s the usual health skit – eat right using a balanced diet , rest up, exercise smart and avoid things that are bad for you. But make sure to never underestimate the negative effects of electrolytes, and take a step towards balancing them today.
Can sports drinks help?
Absolutely sports drinks often contain a lot of electrolytes. Make sure to get the right ones though. There are literally hundreds to choose from; you’ll certainly come across terms such as electrolyte beverages, electrolyte drinks and more when it comes to replenishing electrolytes through drinking sports drinks.