The Role of Electrolytes in Athletic Performance

Health And Nutrition

Endurance athletes have long known the crucial importance of potassium, sodium and magnesium in preventing heat stroke and severe dehydration, as well as in avoiding the muscle cramping and injury that can be caused by a lack of electrolytes. These aforementioned trace minerals allow for proper functioning of muscles and are excreted when an individual partakes in physical activity (strenuous or otherwise), hence the importance of these trace minerals in electrolyte replenishment.

The importance of magnesium bears noting, especially in regards to muscle relaxation post-workout. Magnesium is key in avoiding muscle spasms (any muscle twitching is indicative of a magnesium deficiency). Most individuals get an abundance of sodium chloride (salt) in their diet, yet healthier alternatives such as sea salts with adequate trace minerals are a healthier choice. Some foods are great sources of these minerals: bananas post-workout are a good source of potassium, and almonds provide magnesium. Some great electrolyte products such as E-Load, and Amino Vital are good choices for endurance athletes and anyone looking to increase their athletic performance and avoid injuries and heat exhaustion.

Remember:

  • Electrolytes play a crucial role in the function of muscles and in adequate hydration.
  • They are especially important during intense physical activity and in extreme temperatures, notably in the hot weather of the summer months.
  • Bananas post-workout are a good source of potassium, and almonds provide magnesium.

Don’t forget your electrolytes!

By: Robert Saliwonczyk, RHN, RN CP/ROHP