Image by: WorldBankPhoto
By Jake Bradshaw
Electrolytes are probably the most underrated thing in health and fitness. We hear about it all the time from professional athletes, assuming it’s only something the super intense guys need to worry about. Well you’re wrong.
Not only are electrolytes absolutely necessary for our bodies to function, but they’re also the easiest to lose. They’re so important that our body stores them into little libraries just in case we run low, but like everything in life, if we don’t stock up we risk the possibility of extreme failure.
#1) They’re The Batteries To Our Bodies
Here are some facts. Every time a muscle moves, it’s because of an electric impulse. That means every time your heart beats and every time your nerves twitch, it’s because of an electric charge within the body. These are all run by electrolytes.
In essence, electrolytes are charged minerals that are balanced with positive minerals (sodium, magnesium, and potassium) and negative ones (chloride, sulphate and carbonate). Together, they dissolve and split in water, making the liquid electrically conductive, therefore, running our body like a machine.
*Tip: Post-workout smoothies that contain the nutrients of electrolytes will help you recover fast while restoring the electrolytes lost. Gatorade, coconut milk and electrolyte-enhanced water, such as those found at Trader Joe’s are a good substitute.
#2) You Risk Magnesium Deficiency
There are numerous minerals in electrolyte forms which are essential for these functions, i.e. magnesium, sodium, potassium, and chloride. Their purpose is to keep you hydrated, otherwise muscles can go into cramps or spasms. One of the most important, however, is magnesium.
Athletes are constantly evolving magnesium deficiency because of increased sweat and urine. Magnesium is required by the organs to function, and the more you sweat, the more you secrete which keeps away from your the organs that need it most. Doing it is like taking out the battery to your remote control. It’s just won’t work.
#3) Digestive Malfunction
Whenever the body is deficient of electrolytes, your body will absorb more from the digestive system in an effort to retain the electrolyte. You can spot this whenever your sweat loses its salty flavor, but don’t let this trick you into thinking you need to change your diet. Studies measuring the electrolytes lost through sweat have shown this to be true.
Without electrolytes, the body is forced to find other means of finding the electric charge needed to function. And that’s never a good thing because you will soon find your regular body rhythms to be malfunctioned. There’s never an excuse not to consider adding electrolytes into your diet or post-workout intake.