Most people know that hydration is important, but many people are still dehydrated. Did you know that about 75% of Americans are chronically dehydrated? America, where water is not only free but also clean (other than Flint). How is it that with free, clean water people are still dehydrated?
It takes more than just water to be hydrated, though. Even if you’re certain to drink your 64+ ounces of water every day, downing 8 glasses doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re truly hydrated. Electrolytes are just as important as they help your body absorb H2O. They play a key role in hydration, sports performance and health. Your body naturally loses these particles along with fluid through sweat, breath and urine, making it very important to replenish before, during, and after exercise. Without electrolytes, the water you drink can’t be properly absorbed and will make its way through your system quickly and without benefit to you.
The four main electrolytes that are important for hydration and exercise performance are: sodium, potassium, magnesium and calcium. Sodium and potassium are needed at greater quantity due to their roles in fluid retention and preventing muscle cramps. Magnesium and calcium aid in muscle contractions and movement which are also important.
Proper hydration goes beyond just helping muscle cramps and increasing energy. When fluids and electrolytes are consumed regularly and proper hydration is achieved, athletes may notice a more consistent heart rate and lower perceived exertion during strenuous exercise. Also, decreased muscle soreness and fatigue along with quicker recovery times and a sharper mind come with hydration.
Do you drink enough water? And are you getting your electrolytes? How much do you drink daily and what’s your source for electrolytes? Leave a comment below, it may help someone else wondering the same thing!
Maybe that dash of salt isn’t so bad after all. Just be sure to not overdo it as sodium tends to be in many of our foods already.