Hydration Summer Series – Week 2
Drinking water? Good. Now that we know how much we should be drinking, let’s talk about what helps us stay hydrated. Electrolytes. Most of my knowledge in the past about electrolytes was to just drink a Gatorade any time you were outside sweating or when you were sick and losing a lot of fluids. But, what are electrolytes and why do we need them? How much do we need a day? And when should we be getting them?
Let’s cut to the chase and not bore you with scientific words. I will use a picture instead! LOL
Electrolytes are made up of sodium, chloride, magnesium, calcium, and potassium. Those minerals are in so many things we eat and drink. We’ll get to more of that in a minute. Question is…why do we need those minerals? Electrolytes are important regulators of muscle contraction, fluid balance, and nerve impulses. They carry the electrical signals from our nerves to our muscles and maintain our blood’s proper pH balance. Our sweat, and we sweat a lot here at BridgeLakes Crossfit, isn’t just made up of the water we drink. Each drop of sweat contains the minerals that make up electrolytes. So, just like water, we have to replenish it. Lack of electrolytes may cause us to experience muscle cramps, feeling nauseas, weak and lethargic.
To prevent this, we can get electrolytes through the foods we eat and drink. Let’s think of this as proactive “preventative maintenance” approach rather than reactive replacement after a cramp up or lethargy. Rushing to get a glass of pickle juice or Gatorade in the aftermath can be prevented if we follow some simple guidelines.
Let’s try to implement some additions into the diet, if you have not done so already! Do you cook with high-quality sea salt, eat banana’s, watermelon, dairy foods, nuts, beets, green leafy veggies, and avocados throughout the week? If so, you are on the right path and you should be fine. If not…try adding one item in this week and slowly progress. But, it doesn’t hurt to always have an electrolyte drink in hand at the box, just in case you get one of those pesky side cramps in the middle of the wod.