Hydration is an important part of fitness. In fact, drinking fluids before, during and after a workout is paramount to athletes and average gym-goers alike. When the body is working at its peak, you lose vital fluids through perspiration. You need to replenish lost fluids by drinking more water. For some, water is not enough to provide deep hydration.
The Importance of Electrolytes
Electrolytes or salt tablets are meant to replace lost electrolytes through sweating. Electrolytes are chemicals that are vital to normal cell and organ function. These compounds regulate the fluids in the body while keeping the nerves and muscles healthy. Some of the most common types of electrolytes are potassium, sodium, chloride, and bicarbonate. When you sweat, you lose these minerals. Fitness experts agree that to keep the body healthy, electrolytes should be replaced while exercising and after a workout. Do not wait until you are parched before you load up on electrolytes.
Depending on the intensity level of your workout, the length of time it took to complete your workout as well as the amount of perspiration excreted by the body, you can take electrolytes tablets. Generally, those who work out at a higher level in warmer climates need more fluids.
The Pros and Cons of Electrolyte Tablets
Pros: Replenish Lost Minerals
Salt tablets contain all the essential nutrients you lose when you exercise. Taking electrolytes tablet or sports drinks help replenish lost ions during and after a workout. These nutrients lubricate the tissues and the muscles. Electrolytes help reduce the risk of cramps and muscle spasms too.
Pros: Optimum Hydration
Drinking salt tablets or electrolyte sports drinks encourage you to stay hydrated. When you are too focused on working out, you tend to forget about hydrating the body efficiently. Some people need more than water to encourage them to stay hydrated. Sports drinks with electrolytes also contain carbohydrates, which serve as fuel to stave off fatigue.
Pros: No Added Sugar
Most sports drinks contain electrolytes, but the extra dose of sugar makes these drinks unhealthy. Worse, there is the tendency to drink more than a bottle of sports drink throughout the duration of the exercise. Imagine how many extra teaspoons of sugars you consume in just one sitting!
Taking salt tablets instead of sports drinks help regulate the amount of sugar you take when you are working out. Electrolytes tablet reduces the risks associated with low ions without the added sugar.
Cons: Increases the Risk of High Blood Pressure
The salt in electrolytes tablet increases the risk of hypertension. The sodium in the blood could increase blood volume. This makes the heart work extra hard to pump blood, causing high blood pressure. Some people are more sensitive to sodium than others so consult your doctor first before taking salt tablets.
Cons: Water Retention
Taking salt tablets can do more harm than good. Sodium makes it harder for the body to flush out excess salt. If the body cannot remove excess fluids, it causes bloating. To reduce the risk of water retention, you can take milk diuretics like caffeinated drinks.
Can Lead to Hypernatremia
Hypernatremia is a medical condition caused by high sodium level. Symptoms include irritability, muscle spasms, nausea, and vomiting. In severe cases, hypernatremia can lead to seizures, coma and eventually, death.