An electrolyte drink can benefit the human body, especially during exercise, in a number of ways. Electrolytes are necessary for proper body function, but they are lost through sweat. After strenuous exercise or exposure to heat, replenishing electrolytes is crucial to maintaining one’s health. An electrolyte drink can promote hydration, improve athletic performance, and help with recovery after exercise.
The term “electrolytes” refers to types of salt found naturally in the body such as sodium, potassium, chloride, and other elements. These electrically-charged ions allow a body to send impulses from one cell to the next. These impulses are necessary in order to send messages from the brain to various parts of the body. If a body loses too many electrolytes, the brain may not be able to tell the heart or other muscles to work or the lungs to fill with air.
Electrolytes can be depleted in several ways. The most common form is through sweat. If an individual is sick, he could also lose electrolytes through vomiting or diarrhea. Without replacing these ions, the body could take much longer to recover from an illness.
A reputable electrolyte drink should contain a proper balance of water, electrolytes, and sometimes carbohydrates in the form of simple sugars. This balance allows a body to hydrate quickly through fast absorption of the ingredients. Proper hydration is important in everyday life, regardless of physical activity.
Some people find it difficult to reach the recommended amount of water intake each day. Water could be considered bland and tasteless. Therefore, an electrolyte drink could help those who dislike water alone to stay properly hydrated throughout the day. These drinks often come in a variety of flavors meant to entice the palate and promote fluid intake.
During exercise, an electrolyte drink may be especially helpful. Exercise often causes sweating as a way to release heat from the body. This kind of drink can replace the water and ions necessary to continue working out without dangerously dehydrating a body. The carbohydrates often found in the drink could also make an athlete feel energized and motivated to last through a difficult workout.
Studies suggest that even those people who remember to hydrate before and during exercise often do not rehydrate the body adequately after exercise. Electrolytes can help replenish the body following a workout. Giving the body enough water and electrolytes after sweating is necessary to help repair muscles and cool the body down.
Electrolyte drinks can be found in most grocery stores and in health and nutrition stores. It is not necessary for these drinks to have large quantities of sodium; small doses of electrolytes, when partnered with certain other ingredients like water and carbs, should be sufficient. There are low-calorie and low-sugar options for people who need the benefits of the drink, but worry about throwing their diet out of balance.