Apr 14, 2022

Electrolytes for Athletes: Six Reasons You Need Them

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Athletes sweat a lot. This is a pretty uncontroversial statement. Because of how much is lost through sweat, electrolytes for athletes are critical to replenish. That is, if they wish to stay at the top of their game.

When it comes to why you need electrolytes, these minerals are critical for maintaining physical and mental performance. If your electrolyte stores drop too low, you could begin to experience fatigue, lethargy, confusion, headaches, muscle cramping or worse.

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Let’s go ahead and take a deep dive and explore six reasons why electrolytes for athletes are so essential.

1. Promote Physical Performance

This is the top reason why electrolytes for athletes are critical. After all, being an athlete is all about physical performance.

Losing just a small percentage of your body weight in sweat can tank performance in terms of strength, speed and focus. Ultimately, this means that electrolytes are essential for the body and mind.

2. Elevated Mental Energy

Even if just for a short while, dehydration can have a massive impact on the body and brain. When speaking to the mental denigration that occurs, researchers have noted:

“The simplest reaction time tasks were least impacted, even as dehydration got worse, but tasks that require attention were quite impacted … As the participants lost more water, they increasingly made more errors during attention-related tasks. For example, those activities that were more repetitive and unexciting, such as punching a button in various patterns for several minutes, suffered the most.”

This sort of mental decline could result in loss or injury for an athlete.

3. More Restful Sleep

Sleep is crucial for the body and mind, as well, as this is when most of the body’s healing is done. For those who are constantly pushing their bodily limitations, restful sleep is vital. Fortunately, electrolytes help to promote deeper, more restful sleep.

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As it turns out, calcium helps to promote REM sleep, otherwise known as “deep sleep.” Meanwhile, those who are magnesium deficient tend to experience chronic insomnia. Therefore, science tells us that calcium and magnesium are important for getting restful sleep.

In case you are not aware, calcium and magnesium are both electrolytes. Who knew that a sugar-free electrolyte powder could replace your nightly melatonin?

4. Promote Strong Muscles and Bones

Another reason electrolytes for athletes are essential is that they help to keep your muscles and bones strong and robust.

The average American diet is high in acidifying foods like processed cereal grains, meat, dairy and junk snacks. As a result, acidity in the body goes up and, over time, can lead to muscle wasting and a loss in bone density.

However, potassium (another electrolyte) can help to bring balance to a body’s pH levels, thus preventing the aforementioned symptoms.

5. Help Maintain a Healthy Heart

If there weren’t enough benefits to electrolytes for athletes to monitor their intake, these minerals also impact heart health.

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Generally speaking, if a person has too much sodium and too little potassium in their diet, they are likely to experience high blood pressure. It should come as no surprise that 90 percent of Americans consume too much sodium.

However, by increasing potassium intake, it is possible to reduce blood pressure and bring back balance.

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However, it’s not just potassium, as magnesium and calcium are also beneficial for regulating blood pressure, normalizing irregular heartbeats and reducing inflammation.

6. Improved Digestion

In case it wasn’t clear enough, electrolytes serve many functions. One is that (potassium in particular) aids with muscle contractions in the intestines, which is a critical function of digestion.

Thus, if a person is low on potassium, healthy digestion could be inhibited.

This provides yet another great reason to stock up on electrolyte hydration capsules and potassium-rich foods.

Electrolytes for Athletes

As can be seen, electrolytes for athletes are critical for many reasons, from performance to sleep, digestion, bone density and beyond, electrolytes serve a multitude of essential functions for helping athletes reach their personal zenith.

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