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The Power of Electrolytes

couple running

If you’re an avid runner, you know the importance of keeping the electrolytes in your body balanced. You may have experienced what happens if you don’t! But many people have no idea what electrolytes are, what they do and why they’re so important.

Electrolytes are electrically charged minerals that keep your body fluids in balance. The most common electrolytes are sodium, potassium, magnesium, chlorine, calcium and phosphate. They’re present in blood, urine and the fluid in and around every cell in your body. They also help transmit nerves impulses throughout your body, keep the water in your body balanced and contract your muscles.

The important thing to know about electrolytes is that their levels shouldn’t ever be too high or too low. Imbalances can occur as the result of dehydration, medications, liver, kidney or heart disorders, nausea/vomiting, diarrhea and bulimia.

Symptoms of an electrolyte imbalance include fatigue, twitching, muscle and or abdominal cramping, convulsions, irregular heartbeat, seizures and changes in blood pressure. It’s important to maintain proper electrolyte concentrations when you engage in prolonged or intense physical activity.

Your body gets electrolytes from foods you eat and liquids you drink. Remember to stay well hydrated while engaging in any type of rigorous physical activity.

To replace lost electrolytes: Consume bananas, yogurt, raisins, apricots, sea-salted water and coconut water.