4 Ways Electrolytes Optimise Your Performance

by | 8 Oct 2018 | Australian Sport Blog, electrolytes, sports drink, Staminade

What are Electrolytes?

Electrolytes; a fancy word that may not mean too much to a lot of us, except from the fact we know they’re important in some way, right?

 

Correct. Electrolytes are indeed extremely important, but what are they exactly? Well, they’re electrically charged particles or ions that are created when mineral salts dissolve in water and break up. They are vital for total body hydration and acid-base balance, helping to regulate the balance of water within and between body cells, and maintaining fluid balance in the body.

 

The most important of these fancy electrolytes are potassium, sodium, magnesium, chloride and calcium, and the most common way we intake these is through our diet. Foods such as spinach, butternut squash, broth-based soups, fruit, milk, and pumpkin seeds are very high in electrolytes, amidst a whole other range of foods. So, whatever your taste preferences, you can certainly tailor your diet to help keep your electrolyte levels balance.

How do Electrolytes Optimise Performance?

Okay, so its clear electrolytes are important, but how exactly can they optimise performance?

1. Whilst electrolytes don’t directly contain energy themselves, they are essential for conducting electrical impulses to the body’s nerves and muscles. Funnily enough, we need our muscles to exercise…even if it’s just darts, or even chess. This means that if there is a shortage of electrolytes in the body, then some signals from our brain may not be transmitted well enough for our muscles to receive or to respond, resulting in slow reflexes or weakness.

 

2. Not only are our muscles affected by an electrolyte imbalance, but our minds too. Low electrolyte levels can result in impaired judgement, mental confusion and fatigue. At a higher level, it’s crucial to have a focused mind to enact upon a race strategy for instance. At a lower level, basic decision making is needed just to ensure our safety, for instance watching out for cars when riding your bike.

 

3. Another way electrolyte consumption can help our performance is by minimising the risk of muscle cramps and fatigue. In sweating, we don’t just lose water, we lose electrolytes as well – that’s why our sweat often tastes salty! So, it’s therefore crucial to replace any lost electrolytes…assuming you’re exercising hard enough to sweat that is (if not, then try harder!).

 

4. Finally, electrolyte drinks that have been well formulated not only enhance fluid absorption, but can encourage thirst. This may sound counter-productive, but if we feel thirsty we’re more likely to drink more, and therefore will more rapidly rehydrate ourselves. We often don’t ‘feel’ thirst until we’re already dehydrated, and by that time it’s too late!

 

Staminade’s formulation contains the right balance of carbohydrates and electrolytes to rehydrate and replenish lost energy and lost electrolytes.

There you have it, you’re now a mini-expert on these fancy electrolyte things. Even if you’re not interested in what they are or what they do, it’s clear how crucial they are to optimise performance, so make sure you’re eating enough of the good stuff and even think about buying electrolyte drinks if you’re into endurance-based training.

More About Electrolytes

Want to know more about how Staminade works? You can find out more here: https://staminade.com.au/why-do-i-need-staminade/

10 Signs You May Be Lacking in Magnesium: https://staminade.com.au/10-signs-lacking-magnesium/