The Science of Electrolytes and Why You Need Them

Although they sound like something you might need to throw a next-level rave, electrolytes are actually super important for body function and performance. They’re essentially chemicals that give off electricity when dissolved in water and all of our bodies require them for muscular movement and the firing of neurons. No electrolytes, no walking around and no thinking.

Your body naturally has a balance of electrolytes floating around in it. Too many, and you can start to feel sick but too few and you can feel dizzy, weak, and confused. Here we break down exactly what they are, how they work, and why you need them to perform at your best.

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Life is Electric

All multicellular organisms require electrolytes to function. The main ones are sodium, potassium, chloride, calcium, phosphate, and magnesium. Both muscle contraction and the firing of neurons requires the electrical charge generated as these chemicals enter and exit the muscle or the neuron. They also help to balance blood pressure, repair damaged tissue, and keep your heart pumping.

What Happens When You Run Low

When you do intense physical activity, your body sweats out a lot of electrolytes as it uses them up. Working out for long periods of time, going for an extended cycle ride, or even a decent bushwalk is going to cause you to sweat and deplete your electrolyte balance.

Of all the electrolytes your body burns through, sodium is primarily what gets sweated out. As you exercise you can pretty quickly run through your body’s natural store of electrolytes which begins to impair your physical and mental performance. With sodium however, heavy losses can lead to hyponatremia which is where you start to experience dizziness, muscle cramping, and headaches.

Restoring the Balance

If you’re exercising for long periods of time, training hard, and sweating a lot, you need to be replacing your electrolytes in order to keep going. Exercising in hot weather is also going to increase the amount you sweat and the minerals you lose.

Keeping hydrated is one important one to replenish your body but water alone is not always enough. Gatorade’s G Active electrolyte water puts back in what sweat takes out, with electrolytes, B vitamins and no sugar. As you top up, you should start to feel your body’s level returning to normal and you’ll become mentally and physically sharper as your levels are restored.

Find Gatorade G Active.