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Fitness

Importance of Electrolytes in Athletes

WHAT ARE ELECTROLYTES AND WHY IS IT IMPORTANT FOR ATHLETES ESPECIALLY?

Electrolytes are positively and negatively charged ions that carry out electrical activity to perform multiple tasks within the body. They must be present at proper concentrations to maintain fluid balance, muscle contraction and neural activity— all essential for high performance and basic daily functions. The kidneys control the electrolyte balance by excreting or preserving them.

When athletes sweat, they lose electrolytes primarily in the form of sodium (Na+) and chloride (Cl), in addition, Potassium (K+), Magnesium (Mg2+) and Calcium (Ca2+) are also lost through sweating; hence it is important that athletes should replace electrolytes as well. For athletes who attempts to attain peak performance, it is vital that they hydrate and rehydrate their bodies with the correct amount of electrolytes.

It's easy to forget to hydrate in the middle of a hard workout. Dehydration can ruin an otherwise solid workout and can reduce the training capacity of an athlete over the course of an entire season if left unchecked. In a mildly dehydrated condition, 1-2% reduction in body-weight through fluid loss, exertion perceived by athletes increase (how much work athletes feel they are putting in), and performance decreases.

Moreover, at the time of heavy perspiration, our body tend to decrease the levels of necessary nutrients and can lower the hydration levels, so it is important that the athletes refuel throughout and especially after workout to recover the nutrients that is lost.

HOW MUCH OF IT IS ACTUALLY LOST?

Because of the quantity of electrolytes that are in sweat, the main reason why sweat tastes salty, some athletes have saltier sweat than others because of simple genetic variations, diet, rate of sweat, and heat acclimatization. Athletes who feel dizzy, lightheaded, or have muscular cramping post-exercise can be salty sweaters, experiencing an electrolyte imbalance. Even when the human body is sufficiently regulating itself, athlete who undergo elite training, is quite strenuous and takes longer hours of practice, therefore it is necessary for athletes to actively pump electrolytes for the process of rehydration

REPLACING ELECTROLYTES AT WORKOUT TIME

BEFORE WORKOUT:

if athletes are a “salty sweaters then  they  might  give thought to drinking an electrolyte drink or having a like salt quick meal before intense workout time  (> 60 – 90 minutes) or one that is carried out in hot temperatures.

DURING WORKOUT:  

While exercising, electrolyte products containing sodium and carbohydrates are ideal. Sodium replaces lost electrolytes and helps carbohydrates to be used by the body. In such high concentrations, many sports drinks contain sugar that athletes do not feel comfortable to drink mid-workout. Athletes can 

  • look for low sugar drinks (but still avoid artificial sweeteners)
  • alternate during exercise between a sports drink and water
  • Choose a powdered electrolyte to regulate the concentration of your drink

POST-WORKOUT: 

With  the  consumption  of  salt,  it   is  simpler  to  maintain  water  in  the  body because water follows those molecules naturally. Eating salty foods or a sports drink can  assist rehydration more quickly than just drinking water.

FLUIDS & ELECTROLYTE RECOMMENDATION...

The amount of water needed to replace water losses varies from person to person and from day to day, depending upon the individual’s metabolism, environmental conditions, activity level, and hydration status. Athletes should replace body water lost during training/competition using the guideline that 1 kg of body weight lost equals 1 L of water lost. Suitable fluid replacement is absolutely necessary.

A drink comprising 60-120 mg of sodium and 15-45 mg of potassium per 8-oz  serving  will  be sufficient as an electrolyte substitute for exercise time below 2 hours. Check the nutrition label for the required carbohydrate to electrolyte ratio.
Marathon (or ultra-marathon) runners may need a much greater electrolyte concentration to be supplied to their system, with  fewer  carbohydrates and less amount of  liquid. Athletes should aim between 180-250 mg of sodium and 10-100 mg of potassium per 8-oz(a cup) serving anywhere in this category. 

It is important to remember  that sodium plays the primary role in electrolyte replacement rather than potassium, and is therefore a more important factor in deciding which electrolyte product to buy.
During and after workout, athletes should use electrolytes to see how it impacts their training. Over time, athletes can decide their consumption of electrolytes to suit their performance and requirements!

For better and quick electrolyte replacement you can also try BODYFUELZ FASTCHARGE!!! The isotonic drink that boosts up your energy and electrolytes!

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