Most people never ask themselves this question, but they should.
Electrolytes exist as a very significant component of the human body. Without them our organs and even our cells would not be able to perform the required function necessary for our survival. Additionally, they assist our muscle and nerves to work at their best. Without electrolytes, the fluid distribution and balance in our bodies would cease to function properly.
We do lose these electrolytes from the body as we sweat during exercise or perform any activity or experience that causes us to sweat. Some common electrolytes include but are not limited to potassium, chloride, and sodium. There are specific reasons our body needs these and many other electrolytes.
What Electrolytes Do
For example, potassium is essential for the heart and brain. Both run on electrical impulses within the body. Potassium is vital in making these impulses work correctly. Sodium and chloride usually pair up in the body to balance bodily fluids. When there is not enough of this sodium, dizziness, vomiting, fainting, cramping and headaches occur.
Normally, most people take in more than adequate amounts of sodium, also known as salt, with their diet. In fact some eat foods higher in salt than necessary. However, a person who is very active in a sport such as running marathons or biking loses more salt, and since most are watching their diet anyway, they probably are not retaining salt above what they require.
Since each electrolyte is equally important, when we lose them by sweating it is very important that we replace those lost ones. Up to 12 liters of fluid is lost through sweating every day. This is especially true for those who routinely exercise or play sports as these people lose electrolytes faster.
How to Replace Them
The mistake that some make is drinking too much water to replace fluids lost in sweating. By drinking water in excess they are actually lowering or diluting the electrolytes in their body. Water alone does not replace your electrolytes. Other options like soda, iced tea, juices do not replace what we need either as these have too much sugar. Instead there are electrolyte drinks made especially for this purpose.
These drinks are especially helpful for professional athletes but anyone who takes part in an activity up to three hours long can benefit from consuming them. Maybe you are not a professional athlete but someone who plays in a ball league or goes hiking on weekends and so on. Even a person who doesn’t exercise much but might for example spend a few hours doing yard work can benefit from an electrolyte drink.
Any of these scenarios require replacing your electrolytes especially for those who live and work in warmer climates because you will sweat more.
Choosing an Electrolyte Drink
There are many drinks on the market, but like anything else, not all are created equal. Many are little more than sugar water cleverly packaged. There are several things to look for in a good drink that replaces your electrolytes while guarding health. Choose one with little to no sugar content plus one that uses natural foods for flavoring instead of artificial chemicals. Finally, look for one that includes all the necessary electrolytes for a healthy body and proper fluid replacement.