Many body functions rely on electrolytes to work properly. They are chemicals that form electrically charged ions in body fluids. So, if we need them to function, but we are losing these ions via sweat or other loss of liquid it is pretty easy to understand how our body would respond negatively, right?
What are some signs of electrolyte depletion?
Muscle cramps are the most common signs, however, some people are extremely fortunate enough (yay! I am one of them), that do not suffer from these warnings. I suppose this could also be considered a downside to not getting cramps (if that’s possible) in contrast. How would I know if my body is not properly replenished if I’m not cramping?
Very salty sweat could be another warming sign, this is usually coincided with excessive thirst and or craving salty foods and drinks. Your body will swell (bloated belly) and typically you aren’t urinating nearly as much as normal (this would very individual, of course). Headaches are a symptom I have personally experienced, and if my electrolytes are not quickly replenished those headaches are often followed with nausea and or confusion.
What to do to prevent it?
There are several ways to prevent these symptoms, first and foremost is staying hydrated. Limit your alcohol consumption (alcohol will encourage dehydration and electrolyte loss). Eat a healthy diet high in those minerals lost through sweat like; bananas, sweet potatoes (potassium), quinoa, pumpkin & sunflower seeds (magnesium), and tomato sauce (sodium).
And, if preventative measures still do not reduce your symptoms you may also take supplements that will help restore these electrolytes both on a daily basis as well as taking them during exercise, like Recovery e21 to restore electrolyte balance.
Should I just go eat a Cheeseburger?
Think of it as not necessarily the gas (or sugar/carbs/fuel) needed to actually keep moving, but the GOOD fuel or nutrients in the fuel that make you run well! Go eat a cheeseburger and try to run vs eating a turkey sandwich and or some fruits and veggies…..So, if you are electrolyte depleted, you might be able to still keep moving or running, but it won’t be at your optimal speed or efficiency.