Electrolyte Your Summer
You have heard it from us before, but we will say it again: hydration is key. You know you must drink water on warmer summer days, but what exactly does water do for us and is water alone enough?
Why is Hydration Important?
Hydration keeps you healthy, feeling well and functioning at your best, including:
- Regulating your body temperature
- Lubricating your joints
- Aiding your immune system
- Keeping your organs functioning
- Delivering nutrients to your cells
- Supporting your brain’s function and your mood
As you can see, hydration is vital to work, play, and to your life. It makes sense. Your body is made up of about 60% water. While water is the main character in the hydration show, the supporting role of electrolytes is essential.
What Are Electrolytes and What Do They for the Body?
Electrolytes are minerals that regulate chemical reactions and fluid balance in your body. These minerals come from what you eat and drink during the day. Your body does not make them. The electrolytes found in your body are:
Electrolytes help move water where it is needed in your body and control your fluid balance. They help keep your cells from drying out from dehydration or bursting from being over hydrated.
Electrolytes also help your nerves send messages from your brain to the rest of your body, your muscles contract, move nutrients into your cells and waste out, and regulate your acid-base or pH level.
Hydration for Athletes
While hydration is important for everyone, it is especially essential for athletes. When you sweat during a workout, practice, or game, you’re sweating out electrolytes. These electrolytes need to be replenished alongside water to keep you feeling and performing your best.
Hydrating before, during, and after activity with electrolytes and water will decrease your risk of dehydration- which negatively affects performance. Heat from the day, football pads and helmet, and how much you sweat all impact your needs, so be mindful of these.
Tips and Tricks to Keep You Hydrated
Watch for signs of dehydration:
- Dry mouth or extreme thirst
- Dark colored or little to no urine
- Dizziness or lightheadedness
Drink water throughout the day:
- Drink water at restaurants
- Bring a bottle of water with you
- Add electrolytes to one bottle of water per day
- Avoid sugary drinks
Learn the things that effect hydration and adjust your fluid intake:
- Caffeine consumption increasing urination
- Diarrhea or vomiting
Mix Up Your Own Electrolyte Drink
There are many electrolyte supplements on the market, whether packets of powder or pre-made drinks. These are quick and easy on the go, but they can also be expensive and come with added sugar and ingredients you do not need. Instead, try making it yourself with this simple recipe:
- ½ tsp baking soda
- 1/8 tsp Morton’s Lite Salt
- 1/8 tsp food grade Epsom salt
Mix into 32 ounces of water. We recommend mixing into a small amount of hot water first to dissolve the ingredients, then add cold water. If you want to add a flavor, try infusing fruits, vegetables, or herbs, add lemon, or lime juice, or try a crystallized fruit flavor.
Here is a tip. Prepare ahead and make a bulk recipe of the solid ingredients. Add a scoop to your 32 ounces of water in the morning and you are set for the day.
Where do I find these ingredients?
Baking soda, Morton’s Lite Salt, and crystallized fruit can be found on Amazon or at most grocery stores. Food grade Epsom salt can be found on Amazon or at Tiki Hut Home Brew Supplies in Onalaska, WI.
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