Electrolytes and the Body
Replacing minerals and fluids in your body after exercise is much more crucial that most people realise. What you do post-exercise is often an afterthought, however, it should be considered as important as the exercise itself.
When it comes to replacing minerals and fluids after exercise, you enter the realm of electrolytes. You’ve probably heard the term many times and often associated them with energy drinks, however, it’s time to walk down memory lane into your old high school chemistry class. If you stayed awake in class you would remember that every atom has a certain number of protons (positively charged) and electrons (negatively charged). A stable atom has an equal number of protons and electrons, and has no electrical charge. An ion is an atom that has an uneven number of protons and electrons, giving it a positive or negative electrical charge. An electrolyte is any substance containing free ions that acts as an electrically conductive medium.
In physiology, the primary ions of electrolytes are sodium (Na+), potassium (K+), calcium (Ca2+), magnesium (Mg2+), and chloride (Cl−). The electric charge symbols of plus (+) and minus (−) reveal that the substance in question is ionic in nature and has an imbalanced distribution of electrons.
Muscles & Nerves
It may be difficult for you to grasp, but both muscles and nerves are considered electric tissues. Muscles and nerves are activated by electrolyte activity between interstitial fluid (fluid between the cells) and intercellular fluid (fluid within the cells). Electrolytes can enter or exit a cell via the cell membrane and are needed for a wide range of cellular functions. For instance, muscle contraction is predicated upon the presence of calcium (Ca2+), sodium (Na+), and potassium (K+). Without adequate levels of these key electrolytes, muscle weakness or severe muscle contractions can happen.
In order to ensure proper exercise recovery, you need to deliver hydration to your system. Fluid replenishment is top priority indeed. Therefore, consider sports drinks to deliver vital electrolyes. They will help to keep your body in balance. It’s important to maintain optimal levels of bodily functions. The human body is a precision machine indeed. Too few electrolytes will cause the body to cramp. As professional athletes are already aware of, cramping can make a huge difference on performance during race day.
Proper fueling after exercise requires more than replenishing calories and fluids; it involves consistent and adequate electrolyte support too. Electrolyte needs vary much more than either caloric or hydration needs as we alluded to earlier. Therefore, be sure to stock up on your sports drinks for full hydration after your rigorous workout or run.
During strenuous exercise, you are asking a great deal from your body, therefore, it’s important to replenish fluids and minerals that are used up. Exercise recovery and fluid replenishment should be something that you take very seriously indeed. If you have kids who are active, you should also offer the right guidance to make sure that they properly refuel and rejuvenate after their physical activities accordingly, hydration plays a key role.