The importance of electrolytes during exercise
What are the electrolytes ?
The electrolytes are essential mineral salts (ions) that ionize in water to provide the body with the electrical charge (energy) necessary for muscle contractions and the transmission of nerve impulses. They help maintain the balance of water (fluids) and its distribution between cells (osmosis) while maintaining an optimal pH balance in the body and thus preventing dehydration, fatigue and even muscle cramps.
Proper hydration during physical activity is essential for energy, safety, and performance, but water is not enough to rehydrate the body because it dilutes electrolytes. It is more advisable to drink water with electrolytes added when there is a significant loss of fluids (from sweat) because an imbalance of these can occur quickly and deficiencies can appear.
What mineral salts areelectrolytes ?
The main oneselectrolytes are :
- The magnesium (Mg) is essential for energy conversion, muscle function, nerve conduction, in fact, for more than 300 different enzyme reactions.
- The calcium (Ca) is essential for nerve conduction, muscle contraction, blood clotting and heart function.
- Potassium (K) is in abundance inside cells, it maintains the cellular osmotic balance.
- Sodium (Na) is essential for improved thirst and heat tolerance, muscle contraction, nerve conduction, water balance, and pH balance.
Chlorine (Cl), bicarbonate (HCO), sulfate (SO3) and phosphate (P) are also electrolytes.
Sodium and potassium are lost in greater amounts than magnesium and calcium during sweating.