Featured Image Caption: Electrolytes Before or After Workout
Workouts are important for our bodies. In fact, when most people think about healthy habits, all they can imagine is someone jogging or doing pushups. But even as you work to burn those calories and build endurance, there is a degree of strain that is put on your body. This then triggers some actions such as sweating and subsequent loss of electrolytes from your body.
Electrolytes are essential constituents of your body, and they have lots of functions. When there is an imbalance in their levels, your body loses the capability to perform some vital stuff. The electrolyte levels should be maintained within certain limits. When one of them goes higher or lower than the required limits, correction should be done in the right way to bring everything back to normal.
Understanding The Electrolytes
Electrolytes are simply the chemical elements that your body uses for day-to-day functioning. Your chemistry teacher might have mentioned them but maybe you didn’t imagine that sodium, which is classified as a metal on the periodic table, was very vital in your body. The major electrolytes needed for most functions are potassium, bicarbonate, calcium, sodium, magnesium, and chloride. You have probably seen your doctor ask for a laboratory test to check the level of electrolytes. These are the things the doctor looks at and they reflect the physiological changes that are happening in the body.
- Sodium works mainly to keep the water levels in the body within the required margins. When there is too much water in the body, the sodium concentrations go down because of dilution. The kidneys in conjunction with the adrenal glands, work to regulate sodium levels.
- Potassium, on the other hand, is useful for the movement of particles in and out of the cells. It is also essential for the functioning of the nerves.
- Calcium is vital for muscle function. Its levels need to be kept right for muscles to function correctly.
- Magnesium is used in almost all the functions mentioned above and helps in the manufacture of DNA.
- Bicarbonate is a useful indicator of the alkalinity levels of the blood. Together with other parameters, it can help identify where the problem lies if you have deranged acidity or alkalinity.
Replacing Your Electrolytes
As you can see, electrolytes are vital in various body functions, and they need to be regulated. There are different mechanisms in the body that work to keep this balance. However, you need to boost these levels from an external source in some cases of strain or stress. The most common instance when you need to replace the electrolytes at home is during exercise.
However, the big question is whether to replenish electrolytes before or after workout. This entirely depends on the kind of exercise you are doing and the basal levels of your body’s electrolytes. Other things that you need to consider are any physiological changes such as sickness.
If you have low electrolyte levels, you need to replenish them before you start exercising because the little you have might be depleted in the early phases of the exercise. This also applies to people who lose electrolytes at a high rate, even with mild exercise. You are one of those if you sweat too much with slight activity or if you start feeling dehydrated in the initial stages of working out.
Electrolytes are crucial in the body, and their levels need to be maintained. When using electrolyte supplements during a workout, ensure you understand what is at stake. High levels of these electrolytes can be dangerous. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to the letter and consult a healthcare provider anytime you feel abnormal symptoms.