Electrolyte Drinks Before Exercise

A close-up of colorful sports drinks in a cooler.
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When you exercise and your body sweats, you lose valuable electrolytes in the process. To recoup what was lost in body fluids and to prevent continued loss of electrolytes, drink an electrolyte-replenishment drink. These are frequently packaged as sports or energy drinks.



Your blood and other bodily fluids hold valuable minerals that support your body's electrical functions. The right balance of electrolytes helps to give you energy and keep vital organs, such as your heart, kidneys and liver, functioning properly. The most common electrolytes are potassium, calcium, magnesium, chloride, sodium and phosphate. If your body is lacking any of these electrolytes, you can become extremely ill. Electrolytes are most commonly depleted during vigorous exercise. They can also be lost through vomiting, illness, excessive sweating, frequent urination and heat stroke.


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Electrolyte drinks offer a fast way to restore vital minerals to your bloodstream. Most commonly, sports drinks offer a fast way to replenish some forms of electrolytes that are lost. Sports drinks can be found at most retailer and nutrition stores. Retail beverages, such as the Gatorade G series, provide protection from electrolyte loss and help supplement the body during intense exercise. Thirst quenchers offer carbohydrate fuel to muscles and keep the body hydrated. Oral electrolyte solutions, such as Pedialyte, offer a precise combination of electrolytes to quickly replenish vital nutrients, such as sodium and potassium, without a lot of added sugar and fillers.



Drink up to eight 8-oz. glasses of water and fluids daily. If you are not drinking at least that much -- as well as more fluids when needed -- you could easily be lacking electrolytes. Before, during and after exercise, it is important to avoid depletion of muscle glycogen. Carbohydrates help fuel muscles and maintain proper mental function during periods of high-endurance activity. Drinking an electrolyte-replacement drink prior to a workout will help your muscles handle the stress better and increase cardio output.



If your electrolyte levels fall too low, you can damage organs and put your health at serious risk. Always having an electrolyte drink on hand; drinking at least 8 oz. prior to working out will reduce your risk for electrolyte imbalance. Certain conditions can develop from electrolyte imbalance, including decrease in urine output, excessive thirst, sleepiness, headache, dizziness, lack of sweating, rapid heartbeat, sunken eyes and fever. Severe dehydration can easily occur and requires immediate medical attention.



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