About 60% of our body weight is water weight1. It comes as no surprise then that maintaining adequate water levels for our body is necessary for health and sports performance. We lose a lot of our water through sweat. It contains more than just water, as it also contains electrolytes2.
Electrolytes are important minerals that we obtain through food or liquids we consume. These minerals have a variety of functions in cells and our body. This means that for optimal performance and a good general health, we should keep their levels balanced3.
Functions of these minerals
The three main minerals we lose with sweat are potassium, chloride and sodium.
Sodium and potassium work together, controlling the amount of water our body has, helping move water in and out of cells. It also helps with muscle contractions and movement of molecules in and out of the cells. Potassium additionally helps the body make protein and glycogen4.
Chloride helps with maintaining water balance and is needed to make gastric juice5.
There are other electrolytes that are key for bodily functions:
- Calcium supports muscle contractions, nerve signal transmission and helps secrete hormones6;
- Magnesium helps make ATP, cellular energy and contract and relax muscles. It also helps send neural signals7;
- Phosphorus supports proper metabolism and is needed to make ATP, cellular energy8.
Therefore, it is essential for us to make sure we’re not only getting plenty of water, but also replenishing electrolytes.
Replenishing electrolytes for performance
Hydration has and always will be key for great performance. It supports aerobic performance and helps our bodies with managing heat. This happens through good blood flow and sweat release, which helps the body cool down9. Alongside that, this prevents decreases in power and supports our ability to exercise intensely10. Losing a small amount of water, as little as 2-3% of body weight, can greatly affect endurance and strength performance11.
As electrolyte drinks help to replenish water, they carry with them many benefits for the athlete. Drinking electrolytes before exercise can help to maintain a balance of these minerals in the body during it12. Drinking them after exercise can decrease the accumulation of lactic acid, help the heart rate return to normal quicker and quickens the ability of the body to absorb water13.
Alongside the benefits from proper hydration, electrolyte drinks can support proper muscle function. They can prevent its cramps caused by lack of sodium14.
Which drinks should I choose to replenish the minerals?
If you’re going to be training for a while, or if it’s hot outside, you should pay attention to replenishing electrolytes. You can do that by having isotonic drinks, which contain them. An example can be a sports drink.
For best results, space your drinks out regularly throughout the training session or throughout competition. That way, you’re likely to remain hydrated throughout the duration of the exercise15.
Maxler Electrolyte Powder is a great option to replenish the key minerals you need. The powder comes in a variety of flavors and has a convenient sachet form, making it easy to carry with you. This vegan powder is low in sugars and contains trace minerals for optimal health.