Are electrolyte drinks just for athletes? There’s a common notion that electrolyte drinks are only needed in the sports arena but that is not the case. It is so much more than just for sports and athletes.
Let's go through the top 4 benefits of electrolyte drinks and see why non-athletes should also have them handy!
#1 Help with muscle cramping
There are several factors that can cause muscle cramps. These include dehydration, lack of electrolytes, and muscle fatigue. Muscle fatigue is probably the most common cause of cramping during exercise. It occurs when your muscles are depleted of glycogen (the stored form of carbohydrates). Glycogen is the source of fuel for muscle contractions during exercise.
During exercise, muscle cells break down glycogen to produce energy. As the amount of available glycogen decreases during exercise, your muscles begin to break down protein (muscle) to provide an alternate energy source. Protein breakdown creates ammonia which can accumulate in your bloodstream, causing pain and cramping.
Treating muscle cramps with electrolyte replacement drinks is logical since they replace lost electrolytes that may be related to cramping. Electrolytes are minerals such as sodium and potassium dissolved in the body's fluids. They function as electrically charged particles are providing nerve impulses and maintaining muscle tone and contraction. Athletes are particularly at risk of losing these minerals because they increase sweat losses considerably in relation to their water intake compared with non-athletes who don't work out as intensely as athletes do.
Exercise-associated muscle cramping can be caused by a deficiency of sodium or potassium, which an electrolyte drink can definitely help with. Supplements with magnesium can help with muscle cramps as well, but that’s an article for another day.
#2 An electrolyte drink Help increase your energy level
Electrolyte drinks (also called sports drinks) are the most popular and effective way to replace the vital minerals that you lose through sweat during exercise. They're also a great way to ensure you're properly hydrated before, during, and after working out.
The main electrolytes that your body needs are sodium, potassium, and chloride. This helps regulate things like water balance and acidity levels in your blood, muscles, and tissues. When your body loses these electrolytes through sweat or when you have a high-sodium diet, it's important to replace them with sports drinks to avoid health issues such as cramps and dehydration.
You can use electrolyte drinks before, during, and after exercise to help keep yourself energised. The most common sports drink ingredients include:
- Sodium: This helps maintain the balance of fluids in your body. It also aids in digestion, regulates blood pressure, and helps prevent muscle cramps.
- Potassium: This aids with cellular function, helps regulate nerve impulses throughout your body, helps with muscle contractions, and promotes fluid balance.
Aside from these ingredients, one of the main reasons it increases energy levels is the quantity of exogenous CHO in the systemic circulation that the body can use immediately.
Note that you can also lose electrolytes through diarrhoea, vomiting, or fever, which lowers energy levels. This means that electrolyte drinks can help not only during workouts but during certain situations and conditions. This is the main reason why non-athletes drink electrolyte beverages too.
#3 also considered as a sports drinks, it Help speed up recovery after a long workout
What if I told you that the best way to speed up recovery after a long workout is to drink an electrolyte drink? Just try it out, and you will find that your body feels better, and you get back in the gym faster. Let me explain why this works.
Towards the end of a really good workout, your muscles begin to break down. Your body's natural response is to start producing enzymes that break down the damaged muscle fibres and convert them into energy. This process is called "catabolism". During this time, your body also begins to deplete its electrolyte stores by sweating. This inhibits recovery because muscles are not able to repair themselves as quickly.
To speed up recovery after a long workout, you need to consume food or drinks that replace lost electrolytes and other nutrients. An electrolyte drink makes it a perfect buddy for any athlete.
#4 Improve hydration, electrolyte balance, and overall health
The best electrolyte drinks are designed to replace the minerals and salts lost when you sweat. They help you stay hydrated, which is essential for effective exercise. The right kind of electrolyte drink can also aid in muscle recovery after a workout, which means less soreness and better fitness results.
Most importantly, they aid in fluid and electrolyte balance. Bodily fluids are excreted through sweat during exercise or any activity. Drink electrolyte drinks since one of their functions is replenishing electrolytes that were lost during workouts.
Nowadays, electrolyte drinks come in various flavours and are available at many supermarkets and drugstores. It's easy to find one that fits your lifestyle and tastes.
To understand how an electrolyte drink can improve your health, you need to know the basic components of an electrolyte drink. Here are some of the most common ingredients:
- Sodium: This electrolyte component helps regulate blood pressure and maintain fluid balance in the body. Sodium is necessary for maintaining various bodily functions, including digestion, nerve transmission and muscle contraction.
- Potassium: This electrolyte plays a role in keeping our heart beating regularly and helps prevent muscle cramps during exercise. Potassium also aids in maintaining proper digestive function.
It is also good to note that there is a natural electrolyte drink like coconut water. Since they also help replenish electrolytes, they may also be good to include in a healthy diet. Though commercial electrolyte drink is easier and more convenient to find.
Most electrolyte drinks have artificial sweeteners and added sugar. Make sure to find one that has less of it.
Electrolytes are essential to our body functions. They perform many roles in the human body, including the function of nerves, muscles and maintaining fluid balance. In short, they just make our bodies work better. So you do not have to be a marathoner to take supplements or drinks rich in electrolytes. Everyone can benefit from them, especially if you suffer from certain medical conditions or occasionally sweat out more than your body can replenish through your drinking habits.