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Electrolyte Replenishment and Your Workout: What You Need to Know

Electrolytes are among some of the most important components in your body. When they are not at their proper levels then body functions begin to fail. Imagine having your car jump started on a sweltering summer day. The tow truck driver arrives, connects the jumper cables and tries to start the car but nothing happens. No sound, no engine turning over…nothing. Then, the tow truck driver pops open the water cell covers on the battery and announces, “Here is the problem. Your water cells are dry!” Electrolytes in your body hold the same importance that water does in a car battery. Both carry electrical charges which are vital for the function.

 

Electrolyte Replenishment: What is an electrolyte?

Electrolytes are ions in the blood cells which possess an electrical charge. The ions carry electrical impulses to the brain, nerves and muscles. These electrical impulses are messages that give directions to various areas of the body to execute specific functions.

 

Importance of electrolyte replenishement after a workout

Just like the heat of a sweltering summer day can evaporate the electrically charged water from your car’s battery, so can a workout drain your body of fluids and electrolytes. It is very important for your body to sweat to regulate temperature; however, many electrolytes may be lost due to sweating. Two of the body’s main electrolytes, sodium and potassium, are lost quickly during a workout through sweat. Many other vital electrolytes such as magnesium, calcium and chloride may be lost during a workout as well. A significant loss of any of these electrolytes can be detrimental to the body. If these very important electrolytes are not replaced quickly after an intense workout then the consequences could be dire.

Within a short period of time the person with depleted electrolytes could suffer from:

  • severely cramping muscles
  • exhaustion
  • nausea
  • dizziness
  • severe mental confusion

If fluids and electrolytes are not replaced quickly a medical emergency may arise.

When should electrolyte rich drinks be consumed?

Not every workout necessitates that mass amounts of electrolytes be replenished. If a person works out for less than an hour, or their workout is not so intense that it causes extreme sweating, then immediate electrolyte replacement is not necessary. Since water is what is lost mostly, then hydration is important.

The longer and more intense the workout is the more important it is to replace electrolytes. If a person plans on working out for more than an hour or if the work out is short but intense, then they should plan on proper electrolyte refreshment. It is very important when selecting a sports drink to select one with the proper amount of carbohydrates per ounce and proper sodium levels. Also it is important to avoid drinks with too many sugars and empty calories.

In conclusion, electrolytes are the carriers of specific electrical messages important to your body. Rapid replenishment of electrolytes after and intense workout is vital. Knowing what types of drinks carry the required nourishment needed for electrolyte replenishment is very important. No workout can be complete without proper electrolyte replacement.

 
Author Bio :

David Bloom is an active full-time blogger who specializes in the field of fitness. He is constantly finding new ways to live life to its fullest!  His website, is updated frequently, and his content has inspired many to become more actively involved in fitness.