The importance of electrolytes in athletes’ performance

15 October 2020

The importance of electrolytes in athletes’ performance

The importance of electrolytes in athletes’ performance

Good body hydration is essential for athletes or physical exercise practitioners, in addition to preventing physiological disorders, it’s associated with good physical performance.

Electrolytes are minerals that exist in our body and in the foods we eat, among the most common are sodium, chloride, potassium, phosphorus, calcium and magnesium. The loss of electrolytes occurs due to the accentuated wear that they suffer daily: due to excessive sweating during prolonged activities, under intense heat or insufficient fluid intake.

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Electrolytes are needed to:
- Water balance and blood pH regulation;
- Help muscles to contract and relax;
- Carry the oxygen supplied to the brain;
- Functioning of neurons, enhancing the transmission of nerve impulses.

Under normal conditions, the body loses electrolytes, essentially through sweat, hence its importance is more relevant in athletes. Let's see which are the most important:

- Sodium: low sodium concentration can lead to hyponatremia, which consequently can lead to nausea, vomiting, headaches and dizziness. This is also an essential mineral for the absorption of glucose and transport of various substances through the intestine.

- Potassium: it’s important in muscle contraction. In addition, it’s essential for oxygen transport and regulates blood pressure.

- Chloride: conduction of nerve transmissions and maintains the balance of body fluids.

- Magnesium: essential for muscle contraction and relaxation, energy production and the functioning of certain metabolism enzymes.

The lack of replacement of these substances can trigger a condition of dehydration and deficiency that promotes: weakness, dizziness and spontaneous contractions (cramps). To prevent these health problems or even changes in performance, it’s essential to drink fluids and / or electrolytes at regular intervals, before, during and after physical exercise.

Salty snacks, isotonic / sports drinks are practical solutions to replenish these minerals during long periods of physical activity. In addition to these, fruit, avocado and beet juices can also be used.

The individual inclusion of electrolytes and daily hydration to improve performance and, mainly, aiming at health and well-being, should be advised by a specialized professional. Schedule your free online consultation with one of our Sports Nutrition specialists, on the exclusive Rocksprint Counseling service.

By Adriana Martins, Nutritionist

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